BARRA BOUNTY: Kevin Whittington holds up a 9.9kg barramundi he and his nine-year-old son landed in Rockhampton one Good Friday, an example of some of the great catches in our region.
BARRA BOUNTY: Kevin Whittington holds up a 9.9kg barramundi he and his nine-year-old son landed in Rockhampton one Good Friday, an example of some of the great catches in our region. Contributed

Fishing tourism proves a-luring

CLIVE King believes Capricornia boasts some of the best fishing in the country.

From barramundi fishing in the rivers, to mackerel, coral trout and red emperors in Keppel, Mr King said it was time to showcase the variety by launching fishing tourism in the region.

President of the Central Queensland Boat Ramp Action Group, Mr King said tourist "trophy hunters" were looking to land the big catch before putting it back to fight another day.

"I have witnessed firsthand how Darwin has created a fishing tourism industry (focusing on primarily barramundi) which has created additional jobs and its own economic stimulus for the community," he said.

Mr King said fishing tourism had also been positive for Victoria's Gippsland Lakes, where overnight and multi-day visitors had boosted the economy.

He said figures show visitor spending combined with that of locals had a total impact of $163 million annually.

But while Mr King said luring visitors to the region was important, looking after local professional fishermen was also vital.

"If legislation is passed to prevent professional fishermen from using gill nets to catch fish in the Fitzroy, Keppel Bay and Corio Bay, then these fishermen should be the first to be granted permits to undertake tourism-related fishing."

Fishing tourism

Where money is spent in Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, by overnight and multi-day visitors

Accommodation: $174

Retail: $85

Restaurants: $56

Other: $159

Source: AECOM (July 2014)