Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
The Honourable Tim Mulherin
Changes to crab pot opening rule under review
New fishing rules in relation to crab pot openings will not take effect on March 1, 2009 and will be reviewed following concerns raised by commercial and recreational fishers.
Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said: "Under the new rule, the opening size of a crab pot has to be a maximum of 45cm in circumference, where previously it was unrestricted.
"The aim of this rule was to reduce the potential for turtles to become entangled. The regulation was to start in March allowing time for crab fishers to modify their pots.
"However, both commercial and recreational stakeholders have raised concerns that these new rules will reduce the catch of larger mud crabs in the near shore and estuarine environment.
"We have taken on board these concerns and will review this regulation in consultation with commercial and recreational stakeholders and turtle experts.
"We want to minimise the risk to turtles without having an unneces sary impact on crab fishing.
"There may be better ways to protect turtles through different modifications," Mr Mulherin said.
The fishing rule in relation to surface floats is also to be reviewed.
"Crab fishers have raised concerns in relation to the requirement, introduced in 2008, to have a surface float on each individually set crab pot.
"Some fishers have markers on their crab pots that sit below the water surface.
"Fishers are concerned that enforcing surface floats increases the risk that their catch will be stolen.
"This rule was intended to ensure compliance with restrictions on the number of apparatus that can be used and to ensure they are not a hazard to navigation.
"It is difficult to balance these two issues, therefore we will also be undertaking further consultation on this to see if a better solution can be found," Mr Mulherin said.
A range of new fishing rules for both the recreational and commer cial fishing sectors will come into effect on March 1, 2009. For more information visit - www.dpi.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.