Management changes for east coast Spanish mackerel

New east coast Spanish mackerel fishery management arrangements are now in place following significant consultation with stakeholders. The changes aim to strike a balance between rebuilding the stock and providing more controlled access for recreational and commercial fishers.

Closed seasons

Northern closures:

  • east coast waters north of 22˚S (located slightly north of Stanage Bay, between Mackay and Yeppoon)
  • two 3-week periods (6 weeks total) in October and November each year – closure dates will align with new moon periods
  • will provide vitally important protection for spawning aggregations.

Southern closures:

  • east coast waters south of 22˚S (located slightly north of Stanage Bay, between Mackay and Yeppoon)
  • two 3-week periods (6 weeks in total) from 1 to 21 February and 1 to 21 March each year.

Note: Seasonal closures apply to recreational fishers on licensed charter fishing trips from 1 July 2023.

Management changes from 1 July 2023

  • Recreational possession limit of 1 fish per person, or 2 fish per boat with 2 or more recreational fishers on board (boat limit does not apply to licensed charter fishing trips).
  • Extended charter trip limit removed (previously allowed recreational fishers to take twice the in-possession limit for charter trips longer than 48 hours).
  • Total allowable commercial catch adjusted to 165 tonnes for the 2023 fishing season.

The Queensland Fishing 2.0 app is being improved so recreational fishers can voluntarily report Spanish mackerel catches on the east coast and shark depredation. By supplying your catch information, you also improve our data, and the accuracy of our fish stock analyses.

A responsible fishing education and awareness program has begun to promote best-practice catch, release, and handling techniques for recreational fishers.

Harvest strategy

In line with our Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy: 2017–2027, a new east coast Spanish mackerel fishery harvest strategy is now in place that will underpin future decision-making for this important fishery.

More information