New regulations in place for jewfish
A number of changes have today been made to the recreational fishing rules to protect vulnerable reef fish stocks, particularly Black Jewfish.
Department of Primary Industry and Resources Aquatic Resource Manager Blake Taylor said the new measures would restrict the possession of fish swim bladders and were introduced with the support of Amateur Fishermen's Association of the Northern Territory (AFANT) and the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee (RFAC).
“Black Jewfish stocks around Darwin are currently classified as overfished and measures are in place to rebuild stocks, however the emergence of a market for swim bladders with an increasingly high value presents a potential increased risk of overfishing,” he said.
“A personal possession limit of two swim bladders from any species of fish has been introduced for each person that resides in a permanent residence, to remove the ability to stockpile swim bladders for illegal sale.
“Illegal fishing will not be tolerated as it threatens vulnerable species and impacts on the quality of fishing experiences and we will be working with the NT Police to manage these changes.”
Swim bladders can no longer be removed from fish while fishing unless they are discarded straight away. Anyone who wants to keep swim bladders for personal consumption must take the whole fish home and remove the bladder at their permanent residence.
Anyone who processes a fish on-board a boat or at a boat ramp must dispose of the swim bladder along with other waste fish products. Having a detached swim bladder outside your permanent place of residence is prohibited.
Mr Taylor said as a complementary measure, any species that were overfished in the Northern Territory were also now listed as a ‘priority species’, this includes Black Jewfish and Golden Snapper.
“A priority species listing means that anyone caught illegally selling or trafficking fish or fish products, will be liable for a fine of up to $60,000 or face imprisonment for two years,” he said.
These new changes complement management measures introduced on 1 September 2017 that require all commercial fishers to affix a special tag to Black Jewfish swim bladders to clearly identify them in the market place and to increase transparency and monitoring of commercial fishing operations.