ECO PROBLEM: Abandoned fishing traps are a growing environmental problem. PHOTO: Contributed.
ECO PROBLEM: Abandoned fishing traps are a growing environmental problem. PHOTO: Contributed.

Ghost fishing problem grows

ON A recent sweep of Maroon Dam, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers took possession of 26 traps, prompting calls for fishers to be more responsible with their gear.

QBFP district officer Coby Walker said abandoned traps were a growing environmental issue, with numbers being recovered on the rise.

"Some of the traps found had been reported stolen and were returned to their rightful owners," Mr Walker said.

"Most of the equipment, however, was quite obviously abandoned or lost but was still catching fish, shrimp and redclaw.

"Ghost fishing is the term used for lost or abandoned fishing gear that continues to catch fish and other wildlife and it's a major environmental problem.

"Fishers need to make sure they remove their gear from the water when they've finished fishing so it doesn't unnecessarily entrap, kill or injure wildlife."

Mr Walker said it was also important fishers correctly marked their traps so that lost gear can be returned.

"Many of the traps collected were unmarked so can't be returned to their owners," he said.

"Anyone who uses a trap for freshwater fishing must have a tag on the trap showing the owner's surname and address." From February 1, all freshwater traps must also be marked with a solid light-coloured float at least 15cm in any dimension.

Previously, this rule only applied to traps that weren't fixed to something stationary. The new rules will also come into effect relating to funnel traps and round traps, the use of set lines and marine baits, and size and possession limits for a number of fish species.

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