Snapper ban surprises fisherman

THE ban on catching snapper for six weeks next year came as a total surprise to fishing industry representative Steve Campbell.

The closure, announced this week by fisheries minister Tim Mulherin, will prohibit the capture of snapper, pearl perch and teraglin from February 15 to March 31 next year.

Mr Campbell, who is based in Bundaberg, has been in the industry for about 20 years.

As a linefishing delegate on the Queensland Seafood Industry Association, he has been involved in the consultation process with the state government on snapper for two years.

But he said this week’s announcement “came out of the blue”.

“I’ve sat in on a number of meetings, but it was never mentioned this was going to happen,” he said.

Mr Campbell said if he was unable to catch the three species affected by the closure, it would be economically unviable for him to go to sea.

He was also puzzled by the timing of the closure, since snapper spawn later in the year.

“The state government needed to be seen to have a closure to appease the conservationists,” he said.

He could also not explain why pearl perch were included in the closure.

“Up to this point there has been no indication that pearl perch are in trouble,” he said.

Mr Campbell said any snapper or pearl perch he caught during the closure would have to be thrown back into the water, with a mortality rate of 75%.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said the ban was a “disgraceful” prelude to more bureaucracy, more forms and more fees.

He said even recreational fishing enthusiasts could face mandatory logbook rules and fees of up to $90 to catch snapper.

“Gone are the days when a bloke could take his kids down to the jetty to throw in a line,” he said.

“Now we have bumbling bureaucrats with their clipboards attempting to turn a family recreation day into a day of form filling and fee paying.”