The Mackay & Whitsunday regions are considered a mecca for boating & recreational fishing. It is for this reason Macrossan & Amiet Solicitors believe it is important to make our clients aware that from 1 September 2019 the Queensland Government has introduced new Fisheries Regulations which have brought about a number of changes to the recreational, charter, and commercial fishing sectors. These changes are aimed at ensuring the continued sustainability of the diverse fishery ecosystems and biomass in Queensland.
It is understood that despite the changes being effective from 1 September 2019, the Queensland Boating & Fisheries Patrol will not be issuing fines for non-compliance with the new regulations in the first instance. It is the intention of the Government and the Queensland Boating & Fisheries Patrol to embark on an education and awareness program aimed at ensuring the new regulations are known and understood by the various stakeholders. Fisheries Queensland are also in the process of updating their “QLD Fishing” app to ensure the new rules are accessible. In relation the changes to the fishing rules effected all sectors, those relevant for our region are as follows:-
- King Threadfin Salmon minimum legal size has been increased from 60cm to 65cm;
- The introduction of a closed waters area within 200m around the Hay Point & Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminals prohibiting the take Blue Jew Fish; and
- Black Jew Fish will become a no take species across the recreational charter and commercial sector once the total allowable commercial catch is reached.
In relation to the changes to the recreational fishing rules, those relevant for our region are as follows:-
- The total allowable per person mud crab possession limit is reduced from ten (10) to seven (7);
- The introduction of a total boat limit for nine (9) designated priority black market species (being mud crab, prawns, snapper, black jewfish, barramundi, shark, spanish mackerel, sea cucumber and tropical rock lobster) will be two (2) times for a personal possession limit;
- Tropical rock lobster possession limit of five (5) to apply in all Queensland waters;
- Blue Swimmer Crab possession limit introduced of 20 (there was previously no limit);
- An introduction of a general possession limit of 20 for all species which previously did not have a prescribed possession limit (this excludes some bait species such as southern herring, hardhead, Australian sardine, Australian anchovy, saltwater yabby, soldier crab and non-regulated worms);
- An introduction of a possession limit of 50 for certain bait species such as mullet, cuttlefish or squid, smooth clawed rock crab and yellow tail pike;
- The declaration that the Hammerhead Shark is now a no take specie; and
- The introduction of further gear requirements in relation to recreational crab pot apparatus requiring that same must be marked with the surname and address of the person using the apparatus.
There have been extensive changes introduced to commercial fishing rules relating to the introduction of new management region for the east coast trawl fishery, extending winter no take periods for scallops, changing certain rules in relation to spanner crab fishery, as well as alterations to vessel tracking and licensing. If you require any clarification in relation to the new fishing regulations and rules or are a commercial operator wanting to clarify whether your authority is affected, please contact one of our experienced members of staff for advice.