Hinchinbrook Channel has been cleared of dozens of discarded crab pots in a joint clean-up operation between fisheries officers and local Indigenous rangers.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner reminded recreational fishers to always follow the rules of responsible crabbing, including the proper use of fishing gear.
“The level of compliance with crabbing regulations in Queensland is generally high, with most recreational crab fishers doing the right thing and fishing by the rules,” Mr Furner said.
“I’m pleased that fisheries officers in the Ingham district have conducted 65 patrols and 166 inspections related to recreational crab fishing so far this year, with a 92 per cent compliance rate among fishers.
“However, fisheries officers continue to rid waterways of abandoned and non-compliant crab pots and this is something fishers should be more mindful of this summer.”
Mr Furner said Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers teamed up with the Girringun Aboriginal Rangers in the region’s latest crab pot clean-up.
“The significant local knowledge and cultural connections of the Indigenous rangers greatly assists fisheries patrol and compliance efforts in the Ingham district,” he said.
“A total of 50 crab pots which were either derelict or didn’t comply with fisheries regulations were removed from a section of the Hinchinbrook Channel.
“The high number of abandoned crab pots recovered recently does show that some fishers need to change their behaviour by taking greater care when setting crab pots.
“Crabbing is one of Queensland’s most popular forms of fishing and the problem of abandoned and lost crab pots occurs across the State,” he said.
“Crab pots which are used incorrectly or left in the water when not being used can become lost and may continue to ‘ghost fish’, trapping other fish and wildlife.
“The proper use of fishing gear is ultimately the responsibility of fishers.
“I urge everyone who goes crab fishing to get on board and follow the rules and regulations which include restrictions on fishing equipment and crab size and possession limits.”
Recreational crab fishers can avoid losing crab fishing equipment by following these tips:
- Check crab pots regularly and remove them from the water when they are not being used.
- Ensure crab pots are heavy enough with enough rope attached to the float so they are not lost or pulled under water in strong tidal currents.
- Check gear regularly to avoid it being misplaced during tidal events.
- Ensure crab pots are set in a sufficient depth of water.
People who see suspected unmarked, lost or abandoned crabbing apparatus should record an accurate location (GPS coordinates) of the apparatus and report it to their closest Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol office.
For detailed information on Queensland fishing rules and regulations, download the ‘Qld Fishing 2.0’ app, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.