Fish wash up in the hundreds from bycatch
WHEN Alan Corbett took his dogs to Moore Park Beach for a walk on Monday, he said he was disgusted to come across hundreds upon hundreds of dead fish littering the foreshore.
Mr Corbett said the fish ranged in size, from tiny whiting to much bigger fish, and were scattered for kilometres up the beach.
"In the area that I walked, which was about 200 metres, they were probably getting in the many hundreds," he said.
The animal lover said after a discussion with other beach goers, he came to the conclusion that a trawler spotted in the distance could have been responsible for the mess.
"We saw a fishing trawler dragging its nets along this stretch of the coast," he said.
A Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesperson said throwing overboard unintentionally caught fish, known as bycatch, was entirely legal.
"Trawl operators are only allowed to take certain species; this prevents targeting of species that are taken in other fisheries (e.g. commercial and recreational line fisheries)," the spokesperson said.
"Bycatch can threaten some species if it is unregulated.
"However, the trawl fishery in Queensland is well managed, and reduces the volume of bycatch through bycatch reduction devices, which are mandated under fisheries regulation."
But Mr Corbett said the incident at Moore Park Beach was completely unnecessary and a "waste of resources".
"For something like this to happen, it strongly suggests people weren't fishing to the regulations," he said.
Mr Corbett said he cared for the beach and its adjacent waters and wanted an explanation surrounding what he described as a distressing affair.
"I was disgusted, this sort of thing shouldn't happen," he said.
"Those fish were caught and then dumped to die."
The DAF spokesperson said risk assessments showed that the trawl fishery does not pose a high risk to fish species but there were risks to endangered and threatened species like turtles and seasnakes which needed to be closely monitored.
"Commercial fishers are required to report all interactions with protected species such as these," the spokesperson said.
"Any catch of protected species can potentially impact those populations where their numbers are already low.
"The objective is to reduce all interaction with protected species to as low as possible."
The DAF spokesperson said there were no species listed as overfished that were commonly caught in the region.