Home' Afloat : AFLOAT October 2014 Contents 52 AFLOAT.com.au October 2014
with David Lockwood
Marine Insurance Specialists
Underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited
Pleasurecraft ◆ Charter Vessels
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NEW NSW FISHING REGS
Sixteen new angling regulations become effective in NSW
from November 3, albeit following a three-month advisory
period. The new regulations are designed to reduce recreational
over-harvesting, promote sustainable and quality fishing, and
safeguard fish stocks.
To this end, the daily bag limit per angler for bread-and-butter
species – flathead (except the common estuarine dusky), bream
and tarwhine, tailor, trevally and luderick – will be halved from
20 fish to 10 fish.
On paper, that’s a savage change and sets precedence. One
wonders where future regulations can go from here? Half again?
And it raises the issue about what measures commercial fishers
are taking to address their catches. Trawl the inline angling
grapevines and you’ll find lots of discontent about commercial
bream netting, for example.
The daily bag limit applies to each of the above species or
a combination of flathead, bream, tarwhine and trevally. The
daily bag limit for dusky flathead remains at 10 fish per angler.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says it answered
many of the 5,400-plus submissions it received from anglers
claiming bag limits were too high and that 10 fish per person
per day would still provide a feed for the family. Thankfully, the
possession limit and combined limit of the six common species
– flathead, bream and tarwhine, tailor, trevally and luderick – will
remain at 20 fish per angler.
However, I find the crab bag limit a tad restrictive. I often
crab alone but won’t be permitted to keep more than 10 blue
swimmers for all my efforts. If they’re not quick my kids will miss
out on the feast. A blue swimmer crab averages 300-400 grams
of which 35 per cent is edible flesh ... if you can retrieve it all.
But the changes to crabbing gear, allowing two traps instead
of one, and a reduction from five to four witches-hat nets, is
welcome. Muddies are the prized catch after all. And some reckon
the witches’ hats catch more crabs than the heavy traps, I’m yet
to experience a reduced catch rate.
You will no longer need to put your address on the trap and
net floats, just your name, date of birth and postcode. This is a
good thing in respect of security, but with more expensive crab
traps the holiday pirates will be having a field day.
Game and sports fishers will like the fact that the 50-baitfish
limit has been increased from 50 to 100 little fish. It’s also good
to see that transhipping fish between boats is no longer legal.
Other key changes apply mainly to our freshwater fisheries.
A catch and release requirement (maximum-size limit) has been
introduced for Murray cod caught longer than 80cm. The current
minimum size limit of 60cm remains.
Cod and yabby fishing has been opened up at some inland
waterways, while the spawning closure has been extended to
protect breeding Australian bass and estuary perch to four
months between May and August each year. Catch and release
will be permitted.
You can’t please all the people all of the time, but these new
regulations make pretty good sense. Aussie anglers still have
plenty of scope to catch a feed for the immediate and near-future
needs. If the freezer runs low just gear-up and go again.
At the end of the day, it’s important to our future to safeguard
fish stocks. Catching and eating your own fish remains a low-
impact, low-carbon, targeted and eco-friendly form of harvesting
that should be encouraged. You’re doing less damage than buying
a steak or sausage.
Full details at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au /fisheries/recreational/
MARINE RESERVE REVIEWS
is delivering on its
election commitment for
an independent review
Marine Reserves using
sound science to restore
community confidence in
Minister for the
Environment, Greg Hunt, said his government is committed to
getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right.
“ We have asked the expert panels to consider what
management arrangements will best protect our marine
environment and accommodate the many activities that
Australians love to enjoy in our oceans.”
The expert panels will help restore confidence in
Commonwealth marine reser ves, provide advice to the
Government based on the best available science and after genuine
consultation with stakeholders including recreational fishers.
“Our aim is to have a sensible balance, which protects the
environment, supports a sustainable fishing industry, attracts
tourism and provides cultural, recreational and economic benefits
for coastal communities,” Mr Hunt said.
Associate Professor Bob Beeton, an Associate Professor at the
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management
at the University of Queensland will chair the Expert Scientific
Panel. Other members of the scientific panel include Mr Peter
Cochrane, Adjunct Professor Colin Buxton, Dr Julian Pepperell
and Dr Sabine Dittmann. h
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