Annual closure looms for coral reef fin fish

News release | 28-Oct-2019

Coral reef fin fish will be off limits from Friday, 25 October 2019, the first of two annual closures to protect these fish during spawning season.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Tony Loader said the first closure would start immediately after midnight at the beginning of 25 October and end immediately before midnight at the end of 29 October.

“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),” Mr Loader said.

“The eastern boundary of the closure is similar to the eastern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.”

Mr Loader said the coral reef fin fish closure applies to commercial and recreational fishers.

“Queensland Boating and Fisheries patrol will be conducting regular patrols during the closure to remind fishers of the closed season,” he said.

“Fishers caught doing the wrong thing during the coral reef fin fish closure risk on-the-spot fines of $533 for recreational fishers or $1067 for commercial fishers, with a maximum penalty in excess of $130,000.”

Mr Loader said it was important that fishers are aware of which species are affected by the closure and how to correctly identify them.

“Coral reef fin fish include cods and groupers, emperors, parrotfishes, sweetlips, wrasses, coral trout, fusiliers, surgeonfishes, tropical snappers and sea perches.

“The ‘Qld Fishing’ smartphone app includes species images to help with fish identification.”

October and November have been found to be the most effective months for closures to protect coral reef fin fish and the closure dates change slightly each year depending on the moon phases.

The second coral reef fin fish closed season starts immediately after midnight  at the beginning of 24 November and ends immediately before midnight at the end of 28 November.

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.

Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au