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Photo: John Boon

East coast waters closed for barramundi fishing

Barramundi fishing will be off-limits throughout Queensland’s east coast from 1 November 2019 to 31 January 2020.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Glenn Shiels said fishers should be aware that the timing of the closed season had changed to make it consistent with other Queensland fisheries closures.

“Most fisheries closures now operate from midnight to midnight and cover the whole day,” Mr Shiels said. “This means that the east coast barramundi closed season effectively runs from 12.01am on 1 November 2019 until 11.59pm on 31 January 2020. Fisheries officers will be out patrolling Queensland east coast waters during the closed season. Commercial fishers caught doing the wrong thing during the barramundi closure risk on-the-spot fines of $1067 while recreational fishers risk on-the-spot fines of $533 and a maximum penalty of $133,450.”

Mr Shiels said the annual closure was in place to protect barramundi stocks during their vulnerable spawning season.

“Closed seasons allow fish species to replenish which ensures the sustainability of stocks for current and future generations of Queenslanders to enjoy,” Mr Shiels said. “Barramundi typically aggregate in one area to spawn, making them more vulnerable to predators and fishing pressure. The targeting of barramundi for catch and release is prohibited during the closure as the stress of capture may actually prevent the fish from spawning.”

The closed season will apply to barramundi, except in and from waterways upstream of:

  • Aplins Weir (also includes Black Weir and Gleeson Weir)
  • Awoonga
  • Ben Anderson Barrage (also includes Paradise Dam, Claude Wharton Weir and Jones Weir)
  • Burdekin Falls
  • Callide
  • Eungella
  • Fairbairn
  • Fred Haigh (Lake Monduran)
  • Kinchant
  • Koombooloomba
  • Lenthalls
  • Peter Faust
  • Teemburra
  • Tinaroo
  • Wuruma Dam
  • Lake Gregory (Isis Balancing Storage)
  • Lake Morris (Copperlode Falls Dam).

Most of the exempted locations are waterways that are part of the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) where a permit for line fishing is required.

Visit www.qld.gov.au/freshwaterfishing to find the nearest stocked waterway and buy a permit.

Mr Shilels said size and possession limits still apply to barramundi taken from exempted waterways during the closed season.

“The minimum size limit for barramundi is 58 cm, the possession limit is one per person and barramundi may be over 120 cm whilst fishing in the exempt waterways during the closure,” Mr Shiels said. “Commercial fishers must also adhere to stringent restrictions placed on their netting operations to protect the high numbers of barramundi brood stock that move into estuarine waters.”

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol relies on the support of the public to help protect the state’s valuable fisheries resources for future generations. People who suspect illegal fishing activity should make a report to the 24 hour toll-free Fishwatch hotline which is 1800 017 116.

For more information on closed seasons for fishing in Queensland, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free ‘Qld Fishing’ app from Apple and Google app stores. Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

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