CHANGES LOOM: Agnes Water recreational fisherman Wayne Bonham, pictured holding a spangled emperor, believes the take limits for mudcrabs should be reduced.
CHANGES LOOM: Agnes Water recreational fisherman Wayne Bonham, pictured holding a spangled emperor, believes the take limits for mudcrabs should be reduced.

Fisherman wants to save stocks by halving mudcrab take limit

HALVING mudcrab take limits and imposing a net-free zone in the Boyne River are among new suggestions to make the fishing industry sustainable in the long term.

Agnes Water dad and one of four recreational fisherman of the east coast Mud Crab Working Group, Wayne Bonham said it was time to take action amid dropping mudcrab numbers and increased illegal activity on the water.

Mr Bonham wants the mudcrab take limits halved to five per person as a trial for five years, with the crustacean's stocks re-evaluated afterwards to determine if the lowered limit should continue.

Admitting his suggestion would not be a popular one with some fishermen, he said it was important people knew it was for the future of fishery stocks.

"I used to go crabbing every week but I go every three months now because the crab numbers are so low," he said.

"Now I just see the stocks are under pressure and when you see that you also see an increase in illegal activity including tampering with other people's pots, which is rife up and down the coast."

Mr Bonham's suggestions were some of many in response to the Queensland Fisheries discussion paper, which explored ways to create a sustainable future for the east coast fisheries.

Submissions closed on Monday in response to the reform options, including reviewing size and bag limits within the recreational sector and imposing new restrictions on commercial fishermen.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the major issue fishermen raised with him was to implement a net-free zone in the Boyne River.

Mr Butcher has had initial discussions with Agriculture Minister Mark Furner but said before any decision was made it would require public consultation.

He is also exploring a potential short-term, net-free zone for barramundi fishermen within the popular fishery before the Boyne Tannum HookUp.

"I'm trying to find out if that's achievable and if that matches in with our fishing strategy and laws," Mr Butcher said.

"I'm led to believe they've done this in other estuaries.

"That may be something in the short term we can get into place.

"We'll let the fisheries get to that period and involve them in a long-term plan."

Queensland Fisheries is expected to start consultation on draft harvest strategies later this year and discuss proposed changes to the fisheries regulation early next year.