Photo: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

New Moon Brings Coral Reef Fin Fish Closures

CORAL reef fin fish will be off limits from this Saturday, October 10 as part of the first of two annual closures that protect these fish during spawning season.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Bob Russell said the two five-day closures coincided with the new moon when key coral reef fish species aggregate to spawn. “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,” he said. “This year, the first closure starts immediately after midnight at the beginning of October 10 and ends immediately before midnight at the end of October 14. “The second closure starts immediately after midnight at the beginning of November 9 and ends immediately before midnight at the end of November 13.”

“The closure dates change slightly each year depending on the new moon phases, however closure dates through to 2018 have been set to provide certainty and long-term planning for fishers. “These dates are available at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or in the latest Queensland Recreational Boating and Fishing Guide, which is a free publication for fishers available at QBFP branches statewide or by calling 13 25 23.”

Mr Russell said a reef fish web guide is available online at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au to help fishers identify fish listed as coral reef fin fish. “Coral reef fin fish include cods and groupers, emperors, parrotfishes, sweetlips, wrasses, coral trout, fusiliers, surgeonfishes, tropical snappers and sea perches,” he said. “It’s important fishers are aware of which species are affected by the closure and know how to correctly identify them. “Fishers caught doing the wrong thing during the coral reef fin fish closures risk on-the-spot fines of $468 for recreational fishers and $936 for commercial fishers and a maximum penalty in excess of $117,000.”

The closures are in place from the northern tip of Cape York to Bundaberg in the south (the southern boundary is at latitude 24º50’S). The eastern boundary of the closure is the same as the eastern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. For more information on Queensland’s closed fishing seasons, 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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