New rules to protect black jewfish and Moreton Bay molluscs

Black jewfish are now better protected under new rules that apply to commercial and recreational fishers, and the take of gastropods and bivalve molluscs has been completely banned in Moreton Bay to protect sustainability.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said this was in response to feedback from the community concerned about overfishing of these species.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in black jewfish catch over the last 12–18 months and there is a risk of black-marketing due to the extremely high market prices for their swim bladders,” Mr Furner said.

“Black jewfish are vulnerable to overfishing and stock collapses have been previously seen in Australia and overseas.

“Urgent management action is needed to protect this resource and its long-term economic viability.”

To ensure the sustainability of black jewfish, the following new rules have been introduced:

  • a commercial catch limit of 20 tonnes per year on the east coast and 6 tonnes per year in the Gulf of Carpentaria;

  • a reduction in the recreational in-possession limit from 2 to 1; and

  • a requirement for black jewfish to be in whole form only on a boat in order to prevent processing of the fish at sea to remove the valuable swim bladders.

The Minister said excessive harvesting of molluscs within Moreton Bay meant a total ban was now necessary.

“Gastropod and bivalve molluscs, including mud arks, mud whelks and cockles, can no longer be taken,” he said.

“You can still take pipis, and collect empty shells.”

“The closure applies within the northern, eastern and southern boundaries of the Moreton Bay Marine Park including the existing foreshore closures at Wynnum, Nudgee Beach, Bramble Bay and Deception Bay.

“Gastropods and bivalve mollusc species are highly susceptible to depletion because they remain in one place and can be easily accessed in fishing grounds close to urban centres.

“Fisheries Queensland made considerable effort over the last twelve months to educate the community about the limits in place to protect molluscs, however there was still a serious level of non-compliance.

“Signage is being installed around Moreton Bay and the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol will undertake compliance checks over the coming months.

“These restrictions are necessary so we can build a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren.”

For more information visit www.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

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