With the annual barramundi closed season along Queensland’s east coast starting next month, fishers are being warned they’ll face fines of more than $120,000 if caught taking the protected fish.
The season closes at midday on 1 November and reopens on 1 February next year.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Robert Russell said the closed season applies to all commercial and recreational fishers.
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“Fisheries officers will be stepping up surveillance during the barramundi closed season to protect this valued fish species during the summer wet season,” Mr Russell 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.”
Fisheries Queensland said the barramundi closed season in the Gulf of Carpentaria is already in place.
“The closure does not apply in exempted stocked waters in the Gulf of Carpentaria which include East Leichardt Dam, Belmore, Corella, Julius, Fred Tritton and Moondarra lakes, and to waterways upstream of these impoundments,” Mr Russel said.
The only exceptions to the east coast barramundi closure are in and from stocked waterways upstream of:
- Aplins Weir (also includes Black Weir and Gleeson Weir)
- Awoonga Dam
- Ben Anderson Barrage (also includes Paradise Dam, Claude Wharton Weir, and Jones Weir)
- Burdekin Falls Dam
- Callide Dam
- Eungella Dam
- Fairbairn Dam
- Fred Haigh Dam (Lake Monduran)
- Kinchant Dam
- Koombooloomba Dam
- Lenthalls Dam
- Peter Faust Dam
- Teemburra Dam
- Tinaroo Dam
- 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. So remember to grab a permit before line fishing in any of the SIPS impoundments.” Mr Russel urged.
He also said that size and possession limits still apply to barramundi taken from exempted waterways.
“The minimum size limit for barramundi is 58 cm, the maximum size limit is 120 cm and the possession limit is one fish per person during the closure. In exempted waterways, the barramundi may be over 120 cm and the possession limit is one per person.
“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.”
People who suspect illegal fishing activity during closed seasons should report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.