PRIMARY Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson this week announced new fishing arrangements for mulloway to help rebuild stocks to a sustainable level in NSW.
“Mulloway stocks across NSW are currently assessed as being overfished and a recovery program is required to assist with rebuilding the population,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The new rules, for commercial and recreational fishing sectors, are based on scientific advice and information sourced from extensive consultation with the fishing community.
“To assist in this recovery process the recreational bag limit for mulloway will be reduced from five to two fish.
“The minimum legal length for both recreational and commercial fishers will be increased from 45 centimetres to 70 centimetres.
“The new rules do not include a total ban on take. A total ban would have driven a faster recovery, however, it was considered preferable to balance the rate of recovery with the impacts on recreational and commercial fishers.
“The NSW Government extensively consulted with the fishing community on arrangements to recover mulloway stocks over several months and received strong support,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Other changes to commercial fishing include:
Commercial Estuary General fishers using meshing nets will be permitted a by-catch possession allowance of 10 fish between 45 to 70 cm in length, to avoid wastage;
A 500 kilogram limit for commercial Ocean Hauling endorsement holders.
“The objective of this recovery program is to assist the sustainability of the species which will in turn contribute towards ensuring quality recreational fishing and long-term viable commercial fishing,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“It is important that all fishing sectors play a role in these new arrangements to ensure the population has a rapid recovery.
“Monitoring of commercial landings of mulloway will continue to measure the impact of the new arrangements on commercial catches and stock levels.
“New research programs, such as the state-wide recreational fishing catch survey, will be implemented in conjunction with the new rules to improve information on the recreational catch.
“This recovery program will be kept under regular review to ensure its effectiveness in building stock levels and will be required until the mulloway stock reaches a sustainable level,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
The new rules will be implemented November 1, 2013.
For more information contact the local fisheries office or visit www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au/mulloway