Holiday fishers could face fines
TOURISTS and locals keen to throw in a line these school holidays could end up catching nothing except a hefty fine with the first coral reef fin fish closure for 2013 in place for five days from midnight on October 1.
The closure prohibits fishers from catching cods and groupers, coral trout, emperors, fusiliers, parrotfish, surgeonfish, sweetlips, tropical snappers, sea perches and wrasses.
Bundaberg Boats Galore owner Peter Clements labelled the closure an attack on the Queensland lifestyle and said if the closure was not rescheduled it would deter tourists.
"This could have occurred at the same phase of the lunar cycle in almost any other month without any interference with school holidays and the limited time we have available to enjoy our fishery," he said.
"They have 12 opportunities to close it during the year and it's a kick in the guts to do it during the school holidays."
Mr Clements believes many holidaymakers won't be aware of the closures and fears many will cancel holidays or simply ignore the closure.
"If people have already invested a significant amount of money into a fishing holiday they'll flaunt it," he said.
"If they receive a fine I don't think they'll come back."
A Fisheries Queensland spokesperson confirmed the coral reef fin fish closures were October 2-6 and October 31-November 4.
"October and November were selected for the closures because they have been found to be months of high effectiveness for closures to protect coral reef fin fish," the spokesperson said.
"The closure dates were set in 2009 after an extensive scientific review.
"The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol will also conduct regular patrols during the school holidays, and will be reminding fishers of the closures.
The spokesperson said the closure only applied to coral reef fin fish, so people could still fish for a wide range of other catches during their holidays.
Recreational fishers risk an on-the-spot fine of $440 and a maximum penalty of $110,000.