Fishing changes in the bag
By RACHEL AFFLICK
BALLINA fisherman Frank Moffett can't decide whether the fish are disappearing or simply getting smarter.
Whatever the case, Mr Moffett said catching them is more of a challenge than it used to be.
New rules came into effect yesterday introducing revised bag and size limits for saltwater and freshwater fishing.
NSW Department of Primary Industries director Anthony Hurst said the limits were reviewed every five years to 'ensure a sustainable future for high-quality recreational fishing'.
Mr Moffett, who has been fishing in Ballina for 55 years, said he supported any measures that would help preserve species in the area.
He said the new rule increasing the minimum legal limit from 25cm to 27cm for blackfish was particularly welcome. "I've never kept blackfish under 27cm because it's just too small," Mr Moffett said.
Some other major changes to the rules include introducing a minimum legal limit of 30cm for pearl perch, as well as a new combined bag limit of 20 for bream and tarwhine.
Leaving a line unattended has also been prohibited because of the injury and stress it causes to the fish.
But not all fishermen are happy with the changes.
Ken Thurlow, CEO of recreational fishing lobby group ECO fishers NSW, said the Government had missed the point completely.
"Everything just goes up every five years. They increase the length and the number of fish you can take, but where's the science behind it? It's%arbitrary," he said.
He also said the state-wide management of the industry ignored regional differences.
"Major regional differences exist, but they're all lumped into one," he said.