Reef fin fish such as these will be off limits in October and November during peak breeding cycles.
Reef fin fish such as these will be off limits in October and November during peak breeding cycles. Rob Black

Aussie Bass put back on menu

SPRING has sprung (a bit early) and while most of the fishing closed seasons are approaching fast, at least one is opening as we speak.

The Australian bass closed season ends today for all the freshwater buffs, but for most of us the coral reef fin fish and barra closures are just around the corner.

Closed seasons are important for the fish and fishers to protect species at their most vulnerable periods in their life cycles - particularly during their spawning.

The coral reef fin fish closure dates for this year are October 12 to 16 and November 11 to 15, meaning for cod and grouper, coral trout, emperors, fusiliers, parrot, surgeon, sweetlip, snapper, sea perch and wrasse, they are off limits. For barramundi the season closes on midday, October 7 and reopens on midday February 1, 2013.

The closed seasons apply from the tip of Cape York, to Bundaberg (the southern boundary at latitude 24 degrees 50'S).

Queensland Fisheries maintain that the closures protect the fish species at an important time in their life cycles.

"The closures coincide with the new moon when key commercially fished coral reef fish species aggregate to spawn," Fisheries Queensland manager Dr Brigid Kerrigan 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. Coral trout and other coral reef fin fish may be more susceptible to concentrated fishing when spawning and these closures are to help ensure the sustainability of the fishery."

And most fishers, commercial and recreational, agree with the concept of closures in some form to protect livelihoods and the fishing pastime.