Barra season closed: fines apply
THE annual barramundi closed season along Queensland's east coast took effect as of midday on Tuesday and will be in place until midday, February 1.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Tony Loader said the closed season applied to all commercial and recreational fishers.
"Fisheries officers will be stepping up surveillance during the barramundi closed season to protect this valued fish species during the summer wet season,” Mr Loader said.
"It's important that barramundi are not targeted for catch and release during a closed season as the stress of capture may actually prevent the fish from spawning.
"Any fishers found taking barramundi during the closed season could face fines of more than $121,000 in court.”
The barramundi closed season in the Gulf of Carpentaria is already in place, effective from October 7, 2016 to February 1, 2017.
Mr Loader said the only exceptions to the east coast barramundi closure were in stocked waterways upstream of Aplins Weir, 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 Dams, Lake Fred Tritton, Lake Gregory, Lake Morris (Copperlode Falls Dam), East Leichhardt Dam and Belmore, Corella, Julius and Moondarra Lakes.
Size and possession limits still apply to barramundi taken from these exempted waterways, though.
"The minimum size limit for barramundi is 58cm, the maximum size limit is 120cm and the possession limit is one fish per person during the closure,” Loader 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 our fishing resources for future generations.
"People who suspect illegal fishing including during closed seasons are urged to do the right thing and report it to the Fishwatch hotline.”