Fishery reels in the greedy
SIZE does matter when it comes to fishing in the Tweed.
Undersize fishing is one of the most common unlawful fishing practices in New South Wales.
So before anglers cast a line or lower a crab pot they need to check themselves, and the laws.
Andrew Doughton from the Tweed Heads Fisheries Office said people fishing in the Tweed needed to be diligent with regulations, or we would soon be fished out.
“The main problem here is that there are a lot of Queensland tourists coming over the border at this time of year, and most of them don’t know the rules here,” he said.
“The legal fish size in New South Wales is bigger than Queensland, so people are catching a lot of fish that are too small to be taken.”
According to Mr Doughton, a large number of species in the Tweed have a minimum size limit, to ensure the fish can grow to maturity.
Some fish also have a maximum size limit, as these bigger fish are more productive breeders.
Mr Doughton said breamand whiting were the most popular breeds recreationally fished.
“In Queensland bream needs to be 23cm, but in NSW it needs to be 25cm,” he said. “Also sand whiting needs to be 23cm in Queensland, but 27cm in NSW.”
Mr Doughton said crab pot offences were also common during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“In NSW, only one crab pot is allowed, as opposed to Queensland where four crab pots can be used per person,” he said.
Tweed Daily News fishing correspondent, Brian Sutton mimicked this concern, saying another grey area for anglers is licences.
“In NSW you need a fishing licence to fish anywhere in the state, whereas you don’t in Queensland,” he said.
Mr Sutton said in the summer months people needed to check the rules for where and what they wanted to fish before they dropped a line or used a net.
“Go to a bait and tackle shop,” he said.
“There are brochures and pamphlets there where people can find out all the rules. Because the fines are hefty.”
Mr Sutton said the way forward is through education.
“Through the media and word of mouth,” he said.
“Limit your catch not catch your limit, meaning don’t just catch your limit because it’s there. Only take what you need.”
Don and Meg Gordon from Kingscliff, said they taught their two grandsons Logan and Josh Arthur, from Ocean Shores, the proper fishing etiquette.
“If you’re out and you see someone pick up a small fish, everyone tends to give them bad vibes and looks,” he said.
“If people keep taking the small fish, they won’t grow into big fish and then we’ll have nothing left for future generations.”
For more information go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au.Angler beware
Other common fishing problems to be wary of:
Excess catch: make sure you are within the limits of possession
Female crabs: make sure you don’t take female crabs with eggs on them
Protected species: There are a number of protected species in New South Wales including the Eastern Freshwater Cod