Coral reef fin fish off limits next week

CORAL reef fin fish will be off limits from midnight on Tuesday as part of the first of two annual closures that protect fish during spawning season.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Greg Bowness said the first closure would run from midnight on October 21 to midnight on October 25, and the second from midnight on November 19 to midnight on November 23.

"The closures coincide with the new moon when key coral reef fish species aggregate to spawn," Mr Bowness said.

"October and November have been found to be months of high effectiveness for closures to protect coral reef fin fish, particularly the key target species.

"The dates change slightly each year depending on the new moon phases, however closure dates for the next five years were announced in June to provide certainty and long-term planning for fishers."

Mr Bowness said the closed seasons were vital to allow stocks to replenish to ensure there were healthy fish stores for current and future generations of Queensland fishers.

"Coral reef fin fish are more susceptible to concentrated fishing when spawning so these closures help ensure the sustainability of the fishery," he said.

"Coral reef fin fish include cods and groupers, emperors, parrotfishes, sweetlips, wrasses, coral trout, fusiliers, surgeonfishes, tropical snappers and seaperches.

A reef fish web guide is available online at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au to help fishers identify fish listed as coral reef fin fish.

Fishers caught doing the wrong thing during the closure risk on-the-spot fines of $440 for recreational fishers and $910 for commercial fishers, and a maximum penalty of more than $100,000.

The closures are in place from the northern tip of Cape York to Bundaberg.


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