Hinchinbrook crab pots clean-up

A WHOPPING 144 unattended and abandoned crab pots have been seized in the Hinchinbrook Channel during a three-day operation by Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol.
QBFP district officer Rob Ibell said abandoned fishing gear was a growing environmental issue, with numbers being recovered on the rise.
“Some of the pots found had been reported stolen and were returned to their rightful owners,” Mr Ibell said.
“Most of the equipment, however, was quite obviously abandoned or lost but was still catching fish and crabs.
“This is referred to as ‘ghost fishing’ – the term 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 Ibell said lost fishing gear, particularly pots and nets, also presented a safety issue for boats.
“Lost gear that is submerged can damage boat motors and present a safety risk to boaties,” he said.
“It is illegal to interfere with gear you didn’t set, so fishers should report suspected lost or abandoned gear and gear obstructing waterways to Fishwatch on 1800 017 116.”
Mr Ibell said it was important fishers correctly marked their pots so lost gear could be returned if found.
“Many of the pots collected were unmarked, so can’t be returned to their owners,” he said.
“Crab pots and dillies must be marked by an identifying tag bearing the surname and address of the owner.
“In addition, the pot or dilly must be attached by a rope to either a float that is at least 15cm in all dimensions and marked with the owner’s surname; or a fixed object above high water, such as a jetty or tree, with a tag attached to the rope above the high water mark with the owner’s surname on it.”
For more information on responsible fishing practices, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores.
You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

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