Black jewfish off the menu for fishers
BLACK jewfish is now off limits to commercial fishers until next year after the catch limit for the species in Queensland's East Coast waters was reached.
The 20-tonne limit for east coast black jewfish was fulfilled on Monday, with the species now a "no-take species" for commercial and recreational fishers in east coast waters.
The fishery reopens on January 1 next year.
Fisheries Queensland Director of Management and Reform Kimberly Foster said the no-take applies to all east coast waters.
In 2019, the 20 tonne limit was reached in six weeks while last year fishers across the coast were barred from taking the species from March first when the catch limit was reached.
The controversial catch limit was put in place in May 2019 after demand for the fish increased by more than eight times in 2018 driven mostly by hefty prices parts of the fish fetch on the Asian market.
Fishers say this has resulted in alleged black-marketing of the species due to the extremely value and limited legal catch allowance.
"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," she said.
"Fishing for black jewfish in the Gulf of Carpentaria remains open at this stage until a 6-tonne annual limit is reached."
"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."
Fishers found in possession of black jewfish during the closure will face fines of up to $133,450.
Those found in possession of commercial quantities with the intention of black marketing the fish face fines of up to $400,350 or three years imprisonment.
Originally published as Black jewfish off the menu for fishers