Protecting the future of Tasmania’s fishery

Protecting the future of Tasmania’s fishery

Opinion piece by Jo Palmer, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

From enjoying fish and chips with the family to heading out on the boat to catch a few “flatties”, fishing plays an important role in the lives of so many Northern Tasmanians.

Growing up along the Tamar River provides year-round access to an abundance of fish species and this special family tradition must be protected to ensure our children and grandchildren and their children can continue to enjoy everything our fishery has to offer.

A recent report from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies found a number of Tasmania’s scalefish species are depleting or depleted. This includes southern calamari, striped trumpeter, bastard trumpeter, blue warehou, southern garfish and jackass morwong.

Of particular concern is the depleted status of the sand flathead, which is our most important recreational fish. It accounts for 70 per cent of all recreational fish caught in the State.

The science tells us we must make decisions now that will help our fishery tomorrow and that is why I have introduced interim measures on sand flathead.

Coming into effect on April 20, these interim measures include an increase to the minimum size limit of sand flathead from 32 to 35 centimetres and a new statewide bag limit of 10 sand flathead for recreational fishers.

The commercial take of sand flathead from Frederick Henry and Norfolk Bays has also been prohibited as precautionary measure.

These interim measures will be in place until 1 November 2023 and are an important step towards protecting the future of our fishery for our children and grandchildren.

I want to ensure Tasmanians can continue fishing for generations to come and that is why we are also consulting on a range of proposed scalefish rule changes for recreational and commercial fishers.

These rules include reviewing fish size and bag limits for depleted species; introducing two new limited commercial calamari licence types; reviewing recreational gillnetting arrangements; and introducing registration of charter fishing operation and reporting requirements.

I encourage all Tasmanians to attend the public information sessions on the proposed rule changes being held across the State during April and May.

This will be a chance to learn more about the proposed changes and to have your say. Consultation is open until May 29.

For more information, visit fishing.tas.gov.au/scalefish-review

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