Indonesian Boats move in closer
  |  First Published: February 2006

It appears that the influx of Indonesian Fishing Vessels continues unabated into the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.

The vessels have now been seen at the Bountiful Islands only 80 miles from Karumba. The occupants have been making landfall on the islands to steal Turtle eggs. They’re fishing using longlines and it seems nothing is being done about it. Do we need one to land in Karumba itself with a few dead chooks on it before something gets done?

If it were the Brisbane River or Moreton Island I bet something would happen. If it were the Cairns Esplanade or the Strand in Townsville something would be happening. We set up Green Zones to protect the East Coast but when it comes to the Gulf of Carpentaria it seems to be a free for all.

The pictured boat is of a Foreign Fishing Vessel at the Bountiful Islands before Christmas. It had nine persons on board. When the daughter of the fisherman reported it to Customs she was instantly questioned about whether the fisherman was sure it was a Foreign Fishing Vessel.

When will the government start to do something about this? When the bird flu arrives?

What’s on in February

Normally February sees queenfish show up around the Sand Island and beginning to hunt baitfish, making them a target for all sorts of imitations. Gold Bombers and B-52s are a good start and will all bring results but poppers pulled across in front of the school has the most appeal to those wanting to covering more area while fishing. Trolling is a good plan if it’s a bit quiet. Other large pelagics such as cobia and monstrous GTs also call in at this time of year.

Fingermark should be around in enough numbers to hit lures meant for barra or king salmon. If you are lucky enough to find a school try dropping a jig for a bit of fun.

King salmon are also prevalent this time of year but as expected, the numbers drop off quickly once all the foreshore set nets go in up the coast. Live mullet and live prawns work the best on king salmon but if the water is dirty don’t be afraid to try a fresh strip of mullet.

Crabs are also worth a try but their quality can be a bit dodgy at this time of year. Check them carefully as there are plenty of empties in their midst.

Wild Weather

Water spouts have been going crazy around the Gulf but it is important to remember the safety risks associated with these natural wonders. Get too close and it could all end in disaster.

Enforcement News

A large seafood company operating out of Karumba is rumoured to be in trouble for keeping undersized fish (and heaps of them) taken during fish trawling. I believe this stirred up a bit of anger around the Gulf so perhaps now someone will look at trying to do something about this environmentally crazy madness.

A couple of Mornington Island boaties that were the subject of a Search and Rescue Effort on Boxing Day look like being issued plenty of Marine Infringement Notices for having no safety equipment, not even life jackets. Total madness.

Catch you after the wet.

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