Fisheries Queensland is warning people who fish in western Queensland’s freshwaters to stick to their limits, following a recent prosecution which saw three people fined nearly $10,000 for having more than four times the legal amount of golden perch in their possession.
Golden Perch fingerlings
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) Kingaroy field officer Aaron McAdam said people fishing in freshwaters were urged to check and follow the rules before heading out.
'This prosecution represents a significant breach of bag limits and should act as a strong reminder to people to adhere to bag limits and apparatus rules in freshwaters,' he said.
'Fishing at Como Waterhole near Quilpie, the defendants in this case were all aware of the limits for golden perch, and admitted to knowing they were using more than the permitted number of fishing lines.
'The risk of being caught is high – officers regularly patrol Queensland’s inland waterways and community support enhances our ability to know what’s going on in the region at any given time.'
Fisheries Queensland principal scientist Dr Peter Kind said the fines were significant considering stocks of golden perch had declined in inland waters of Queensland.
'Golden perch have suffered declines following European settlement and are increasingly forced to survive in degraded habitats and compete with invasive pest species,' he said.
'Of the 46 species known to occur in the Murray Darling Basin, 26 are now listed as rare or threatened under Australian or State Government legislation.
'To protect the remaining stocks of freshwater fish, a combination of bag and size limits, and restrictions on fishing apparatus is in place.
'Bag limits help to conserve heavily exploited species and ensure equitable sharing of the resource.'
The minimum size limit for golden perch, also known as yellowbelly, is 30cm, with a bag limit of 10 per person. The permitted number of set lines/fishing lines that can be used at any one time by an individual is six. Anyone using a set line for freshwater fishing must be no more than 200m from the line and have a tag on the set line showing the owner’s surname and address.
It is also recommended that set lines be checked regularly and not left unattended, to allow any undersized or non-targeted fish species to be released safely.
If illegal fishing is witnessed or suspected, it should be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 (toll free within Queensland).
Latest fisheries information can be found online at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or via Twitter – www.twitter.com/fisheriesqld or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fisheriesqueensland