Fishing for a fair outcome
KEEN fisherman Dick Richards said while he's not opposed to the NSW State Government increasing protections for mulloway (jewfish), he would like to see the commercial industry more tightly regulated.
The Yamba man spoke out after Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson decided the number of jewfish recreational fishermen could take should be reduced and the minimum size increased to 70cm.
"Mulloway stocks across NSW are currently assessed as being overfished and a recovery program is required to assist with rebuilding the population," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"The new rules, for commercial and recreational fishing sectors, are based on scientific advice and information sourced from extensive consultation with the fishing community."
But Mr Richards said in the Clarence Valley there were recent stories of a commercial fisherman catching a trailer load of jewfish off Collis's Wall at the end of Goodward Island.
Meanwhile, Mr Richards said a jewfish of any size was something for recreational fishers to boast about.
He said he would like to know how many tonnes of jewfish were caught in the Clarence Valley by commercial fishermen each year.
The NSW Department of Fisheries was asked if it had data comparing the number of jewfish taken by recreational fishermen with the number taken by commercial fishermen.
The spokeswoman said a total of 53 tonnes of jewfish were taken in NSW by commercial fishermen last year.
"These figures are for NSW we do not have specific data for the Clarence Valley LGA," the spokeswoman said.
She said the Department's estimate for the amount of fish taken by recreational fishermen was between 100-500 tonnes.
"Mulloway is a very significant species in the recreational fishery, and the estimate of catch by this sector is much larger than commercial landings," the spokeswoman said.
"This estimate is based upon the results of the offsite National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey and onsite surveys undertaken by NSW DPI."
Recreational fishermen can take two jewfish bigger than 70cm.
Commercial fishermen can take up to 500kg of jewfish bigger than 70cm and 10 fish 45-70cm.