East coast black jewfish season closed after catch limit reached

News release | 08-Mar-2021

The commercial catch limit for black jewfish in Queensland’s east coast waters has been reached, putting the species off limit to all fishers until next year.

Fisheries Queensland Director of Management and Reform Kimberly Foster said the 20-tonne limit for east coast black jewfish was fulfilled on 8 March 2021.

“Black jewfish is now a no-take species for commercial and recreational fishers in east coast waters until the fishery reopens on 1 January 2022,” she said.

I remind all fishers that the no-take applies to all east coast waters, while the key areas where black jewfish aggregate at Hay Point and the Dalrymple Bay coal terminal are closed to all fishing to protect the species”.

“Fishing for black jewfish in the Gulf of Carpentaria remains open at this stage until a 6-tonne annual limit is reached.”

Ms Foster said the Queensland Government took swift action in 2019 to prevent a collapse of black jewfish stocks.

“Black jewfish are vulnerable to overfishing and there is a risk of black-marketing due to the extremely high market prices for their swim bladders,” she said.

“Any commercial or recreational fisher found in possession of black jewfish during the closure will be in breach of the Fisheries Act and could face a maximum fine of $133,450.

“Any fisher found in possession of commercial quantity of black jewfish, with the intention of black marketing the fish, may be subject to a maximum fine of $400,350 or three-years imprisonment.”

Ms Foster also thanked fishers and processors for their involvement in a Queensland Government research project to assess the population biology of black jewfish.

“By collecting and donating fish samples during the season, they are making a significant contribution to science so we can better understand stocks and manage the species,” she said.

The following rules apply to ensure the sustainability of black jewfish:

    • a commercial catch limit of 20 tonnes per year on the east coast and 6 tonnes per year in the Gulf of Carpentaria;
    • a reduction in the recreational in-possession limit from 2 to 1 for recreational fishers, with black jewfish becoming a no-take species when the commercial catch limit is reached;
    • a requirement for black jewfish, scaly jewfish and mulloway to be kept whole while on board a vessel in order to prevent processing of the fish at sea to remove the valuable swim bladders; and
    • closures to all fishing around key aggregation areas of Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminal.

For information about the management of black jewfish in Queensland visit www.daf.qld.gov.au.

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