Rec Fishing Rules Change
  |  First Published: February 2009

New recreational fishing rules will be introduced into Queensland from 1 March 2009.

The Government approved a number of changes to recreational and commercial fishing rules recently. These changes cover the recreational inshore fishery as well as a raft of commercial fisheries along the east coast.

The big driver behind these changes was the East Coast Inshore Fin Fishery, which we have commented on extensively and many recreational anglers participated in the consultation phase. The first phase dealt with state wide issues and has been completed and the results are printed in table form for ease of reference. The second phase will commence this year and will address regional fisheries issues. I suggest that readers take an interest in this regional review process and get involved.

Many reasons have been given for the stricter bag and size limits, most of which I am not too unhappy about. The prime reason given is the extra pressure that is being placed on fish stocks by Queensland’s growing population, which has mainly grown along the coastal fringe. Of course people move to Queensland to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and accordingly boat ownership has sky rocketed in recent years. Most boat owners will go fishing at least once a year from their boat so the fishery is placed under extra pressure. Fisheries also note that new fishing technology such as better depth sounders, new tackle and techniques have all meant anglers are better equipped to catch more fish.

In press releases DPI&F claim that they want to ensure recreational anglers can continue to enjoy the Queensland fishing experience. While bag and size limits are designed to protect fish stocks (and rightly so), DPI&F’s lack of support for sensible zoning shows how this statement is merely flowery words to appease anglers.

Figures show that DPI&F held over 150 meetings (many announced at the very last minute making it almost impossible for concerned anglers to attend) and they received over 3500 written submissions. That is a reasonably significant number of submissions if you take that every written submission could represent up to 100 anglers, depending on whose extrapolation figures you choose to believe. That means that up to 350,000 people may have been interested in the outcomes of these reviews. That is a politically significant number of interested people.

Other Changes

There is a raft of other changes to go along with the tables presented.

Effective from March 1, 2009 spear fishing for barramundi will be prohibited between 6pm and 6am. A number of more vulnerable shark species are being made no-take in Queensland waters and include all sawfish, the speartooth shark and the whale shark. Charter fishers are no longer allowed to retain double the bag limit of spotted mackerel, grey mackerel, shark mackerel, mulloway, black jewfish, cobia, blackspotted and goldspotted rockcod, and wahoo when on trips longer than 48 hours. In regard to crab apparatus a recreational fisher will not be able to possess more than four crab apparatus per person on a boat on the water and all apparatus will have to have a surface float attached, even if the apparatus is attached to something. And finally the smallest part of a crab pot opening will not be allowed to exceed 45cm in circumference. As stated above blackspotted and goldspotted rockcod will become coral reef fin fish and recreational anglers will have to remove a pectoral fin from any rockcod caught.

Effective from April 2, 2009 will be the addition of three lakes to the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme. These lakes include Fairbairn Dam, Theresa Creek Dam and North Pine Dam.

Effective from April 2, 2010 will be the phasing out of witches hats or dillies. They will become prohibited to reduce impact on turtle populations.

Some things I like and dislike about the new regulations include:

Dislike: combined bag limit of 2 amberjack and samsonfish.

Like: increased size limit to 75cm for mulloway and black jew

Dislike: dusky flathead maximum size limit being increased to 75cm

Like: mahi mahi size limit increased to 60cm

Dislike: bag limit of 10 for wolf herring

Like: bag limit of 1 for sharks and a maximum size limit of 1.5m (from July 1 2009)

Dislike: the delayed introduction of 25cm minimum size for bream until March 2010

So there are some of my thoughts. Overall I am not as distressed as I thought I may have been with the changes, but expect more restriction to come in the Rocky Reef Review due for release soon. This will have massive and far reaching implications to all offshore anglers, charter boats and professional fishers.

Effective 1 March 2009

SpeciesCurrent size limitCurrent bag limitNew size limitNew bag limit
Amberjack and samsonfishNo limitNo limit75cmCombined bag limit of 2 for amberjack and samsonfish
Barred javelin (spotted grunter)30 cmNo limit40 cm10
Black jewfish45 cm1075 cm2
Blackspotted rockcod (estuary cod)35-120 cmNo limit38-120 cm5 (all cod species)
Blue threadfin (salmon)40 cmNo limitNo change10
Camouflage cod50-100 cm5 (all cod species)50-70 cmNo change
Cobia (black kingfish)75 cm10No change2
Diamondscale mulletNo limitNo limit30 cm20
Dusky flathead (mud flathead)40-70 cm540-75 cmNo change
Flathead (apart from dusky flathead)30 cmNo limitNo change5
Flowery cod50-100 cm5 (all cod species)50-70 cmNo change
GarfishNo limitNo limitNo change50
Giant queenfishNo limitNo limit50 cm5
Golden snapper (fingermark)35 cm10No change5
Goldspotted rockcod (estuary cod)35-120 cmNo limit38-120 cm5 (all cod species)
Grass emperor (grass sweetlip)30 cmNo limitNo change10
Grey mackerel50 cm1060 cm5
King threadfin (salmon)60 cm10No Change5
Luderick23 cmNo limit30 cm10
Mahi mahi (dolphin fish)45 cmNo limit60 cm5
Mangrove Jack35cmNo limitNo Change5
Mulloway45 cm1075 cm2
School mackerel50 cm30No change10
Sea mullet30 cmNo limitNo change20
Shark mackerel50 cmNo limitNo change10
Silver javelin (small spotted grunter)30 cmNo limitNo change10
Swallowtail dartNo limitNo limit30 cm30
TrevallyNo limitNo limitNo change20
Trumpeter whiting (winter whiting)No limitNo limitNo change50
Wahoo75 cm10No change2
Whiting (all whiting except trumpeter whiting)23 cmNo limitNo change30 combined
Wolf herringNo limitNo limitNo change10
Yellowtail kingfish50 cmNo limit60 cm2

Effective July 1 2009

SpeciesCurrent size limitCurrent bag limitNew size limitNew bag limit
Sharks and raysNo limitNo limit1.5 m max1

Effective 1 March 2010

SpeciesCurrent size limitCurrent bag limitNew size limitNew bag limit
Bream (yellowfin and pikey)23 cmNo limit25 cm30 (combined limit with tarwhine)
Tailor30 cm20 (extended limit for Fraser)35 cmNo change
Tarwhine23 cmNo limit25 cm30 (combined limit with bream)
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