Plan to save jewie stocks

AFTER significant and sustained pressure from the recreational fishing sector, NSW Fisheries has finally come up with a plan to save the state’s dwindling population of mulloway.

Mulloway, commonly known as jewfish or jewies, have been in decline in NSW for decades as a result of unsustainable fishing practices and a minimum size limit of 45cm. Mulloway don’t breed until about 65-70cm.

The Fisheries Department has released a discussion paper which outlines three “preferred” options to help better manage stocks of the iconic southern sportfish.

The preferred options include a daily bag limit of one jewfish over 70cm for rec anglers (down from five fish a day from 45cm up), a by-catch limit of 10 fish between 45-70cm for commercial estuary netters and a limit of 500kg per day for beach haulers targeting spawning aggregations.

See the discussion paper HERE. Fishing World has presented alternative management options in an opinion article HERE.

NSW rec fishing leaders have expressed muted support for the discussion paper, while outlining issues of concern relating to continued commercial exploitation of both juvenile and spawning fish.

Malcolm Poole, from the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW, said it was vital jewfish be able to breed successfully. “The ultimate aim is to have sufficient larger mulloway breeding successfully and naturally. This means good water quality, enough natural habitat supporting mulloway throughout their life cycle, and reducing impacts that impede the growth/survival of mulloway. In essence, bag limits are one part of the equation that needs to be considered.”

More restrictions need to put on the commercial sector, said ANSA’s Stan Konstantaras.

“The commercial side of the equation seems fairly unbalanced in their favour. Asking recreational anglers to accept a huge cut in bag limits whilst leaving the door open for commercial exploitation is not a good outcome. A spawning closure is what is also needed. Big breeders need to be protected, especially when spawning. Most commercial operators do the right thing, but a few out there will take advantage of the loopholes and these need to be closed.”

Submissions close on October 16.

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