Illegal fishers put lives at risk casting in closed areas
FISHERS are spoiled for choice when it comes to great fishing spots around Rockhampton, but the Fitzroy River Barrage should not be one of them.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Gary Muhling said fishers need to avoid fishing in closed waters.
"We have received an increased number of complaints about people fishing inside the closed waters at the Barrage recently," Mr Muhling said.
"The Barrage is closed to all forms of fishing 400m downstream of the dam wall, and 400m upstream.
"There are also closed waters 200m upstream to 400m downstream of Eden Bann Weir, and 200m upstream to 200m downstream of Wattlebank Control Weir.
"There are signs in place advising fishers of the closed waters, and it is the responsibility of all fishers to know the rules before heading out.
"Fishing in closed waters is a serious offence which carries a $440 on-the-spot fine or a maximum penalty of $110,000, and your equipment could be seized."
Mr Muhling said QBFP works together with the local council to monitor the area.
"Rockhampton Regional Council has installed signage, CCTV surveillance, controls remotely operated spotlights and a verbal warning system, and conducts regular patrols of the closed water areas."
Mr Muhling said closed waters are in place to help preserve fish stocks in areas where they may be vulnerable to overfishing.
"The Barrage and weirs form a barrier, and fish tend to congregate there whilst waiting to use fish ladders to travel up or down stream," he said.
Mr Muhling also expressed concern of fishers risking their safety to throw a line in at the Barrage.
"The area is slippery and the Barrage gates open automatically, making it a dangerous place to fish. There has also been a large crocodile sighted in the area. It's just not worth the risk."
If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Any trespassing or damage to the Fitzroy River Barrage should be reported to the Council's Customer Service Centre on 1300 22 55 77, or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000. Don't engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation.
For more information on closed waters, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
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