Sport

Fishing industry figures support changes as bag limits cut

BAG limits for flathead, bream, tarwhine and tailor will be halved when a raft of rule changes impacting on recreational fishers come into play today.

The rule changes will allow all recreational fishers access to a fairer share of the catch according to the fisheries division of the Department of Primary Industries.

Brett Hyde from Ballina Bait and Tackle said any step that helps preserve future fish stocks was a positive step.

"Every time you cut bag limits it has to be beneficial," he said.

Other ocean fish to have their bag limit reduced from 20 to 10 include trevally, luderick and blue swimmer crab

New rules affecting freshwater fish include a maximum size limit of 80cm for Murray Cod to provide protection for large breeding fish. The minimum size limit of 60cm will remain in place.

The spawning closure for Australian bass and estuary perch will also be extended to four months (May - August) to protect early migrating bass.

Local anglers will have time to adjust to the new rules as there is a three-month advisory period before breaching the rules results in legal action.

Lismore Anglers Club president Bruce Hall said he doesn't expect the rule changes will affect club members, declaring the days of the big catches are a thing of the past.

Mr Hall said that during his 35 years at the club there has been a steady decline in catch numbers and that local anglers haven't been able to reach their bag limits since the 1990s.

He said these days even the most experienced fishermen were happy to get a "feed of fish".

The DPI received 5440 submission from across the state as part of the consultation process preceding the rule changes.

Updated brochures, guides and sticky rulers outlining the changes will be available from tackle shops or fishing licence agents from today the DPI said.

Topics:  outdoor-living