Barra Reminder: Off Limits Means Release Immediately27 November 2012
AUSTRALIA - Fishers are reminded that barramundi is off limits in East Coast waters and the Gulf of Carpentaria, following recent reports of fishers targeting the species during the closures.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) district officer Rob Ibell said the closure was in place to protect barramundi stock during their vulnerable spawning season.
"During spawning, millions of eggs will be laid, but only a few will survive the natural selection process," he said.
"Barramundi typically gather in one area to spawn, making them more vulnerable to predators and fishing pressure.
"It's important that barramundi are not targeted for catch and release during a closed season as the stress of capture may prevent the fish from spawning.
"If accidentally caught, the fish must be released into the water immediately. It is not to be removed from the water for a photo or tagging.
"The purpose of these closures is to allow stocks to replenish. Targeting and stressing these fish by tagging and taking photos of them out of the water will not assist in the protection of this species."
Mr Ibell said QBFP officers would be out patrolling Queensland waters over the spawning season.
"Officers conduct regular patrols during closed seasons and those found doing the wrong thing are risking an on-the-spot fine of $440 and a maximum penalty of $110,000," he said.
The barramundi closure applies to East Coast waters and the Gulf of Carpentaria until noon 1 February 2013.
For more information on fishing closures in Queensland visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
TheFishSite News Desk