Know your fishing rules these Easter holidays
WHILE the Easter long weekend is the perfect time for a little fishing retreat, fishers have been warned to obey the rules or risk being slapped with a hefty fine.
Fishers have been warned to make sure they know the latest rules including possession limits, size, boats and permits before heading out to their local lakes and dams.
A Queensland Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said while Easter is one of the busiest times of year at Queensland's waterways, it's important fishes know the different rules that apply in tidal waters, freshwaters and marine parks.
"The Easter long weekend is one of the busiest on Queensland's waterways. Everybody should enjoy wetting a line, and most fishers do the right thing, but if you don't fish responsibly and ignore the rules hefty fines will apply.
"Different rules apply in tidal waters, freshwaters, and marine parks. Make sure you understand the rules around size and possession limits, how to correctly measure a fish, fishing gear restrictions and closed seasons," The Fisheries Queensland spokesman said.
Fisheries officers will also be heavily patrolling this weekend.
Last month, five Sunshine Coast fishers were fined a total of $4,000 for taking 150 undersized fish on Chambers Island in Maroochydore in January.
"Ignorance is no excuse and, in this instance, not knowing the rules has ended in a very costly day out," Queensland Boating & Fisheries Patrol District Officer Russell Overton said at the time.
Falling water levels at popular lakes in South East Queensland have prompted the state government to issue a warning to fishers, swimmers and boaties.
Minister for Natural Resources Dr Anthony Lynham said low-water levels at some lakes has increased the danger of hidden dangers including trees, rocks and fence posts.
"South East Queensland's lakes and parks provide some of the best and most affordable swimming, boating, fishing and camping experiences in the state.
"But while the stillness of lakes can create a tranquil and safe feeling, incidents and injury can still happen if visitors become complacent. It's important to remember that still water can still be dangerous," Dr Lynham said in a previous statement.
A drop in water levels at popular lakes has already resulted in the closure of some boat ramps and restrictions on some recreation activities.
You can check the Seqwater website to confirm which lakes are affected here.
Some fishing tips and responsibilities:
Check your limits
A full list of size and possession limits can be found here.
Use a sturdy ruler with an end stop to measure the length of your fish or a crab gauge to measure your crabs.
Identify your catch
Always carry a fish identification guide or download the Qld Fishing app. Remember, fish that look similar may in fact be different species with different size and possession limits.
If you can't ID it, free it.
Gently does it
When a fish is hooked, avoid playing it on the line for too long. The stressed fish will become exhausted quickly and have less chance of survival if required to be released.
Check your gear
To prevent overfishing there are restrictions in place on the type of equipment such as nets and fishing lines that can be used in the water. The fishing equipment allowed for recreational fishing is listed here.
If it's not yours, don't touch it
Interfering with crab apparatus you didn't set is illegal. If you're concerned apparatus has been abandoned, report it to Fishwatch on 1800 017 116.
Have you got a permit?
A Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS) permit is required to fish with a line in 63 Queensland water bodies known as impoundments to reduce the fishing pressure on wild fish stocks. You can find out more and order your own SIPS permit here.
A full list of the 63 impoundments that require permits are here.
People who suspect illegal fishing activity are also urged to report to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.
For more information on Queensland fishing rules and regulations, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 132523 or download the free 'Qld Fishing' app.