Fishing for black jewfish in Queensland’s east coast waters is now off limits for all fishers until 1 January 2021 after the commercial catch limit was reached.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the 20-tonne limit for east coast Black jewfish was reached on March 1.
“Black jewfish is now a commercial and recreational no-take species on the east coast until the fishery reopens on 1 January 2021,” Mr Furner said.
“Any commercial or recreational fisher found to be in possession of black jewfish will be in breach of the Fisheries Act and could face a maximum fine of $133,450.
“Additionally, any fisher found to be 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.
“Fishing for black jewfish in the Gulf of Carpentaria remains open at this stage.”
Mr Furner said in May 2019, the Queensland Government introduced a total allowable catch limit of 20 tonnes for Black jewfish.
“The limit was introduced in response to rapidly escalating catches of the species and concerns about sustainability,” Mr Furner said.
“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.
“Stock collapses have been previously seen in Australia and overseas so we have taken management action to protect this resource and its long-term economic viability.”
To ensure the sustainability of black jewfish, the following rules apply:
- 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 around key aggregation areas of Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminal.