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DPI Newscast newsletter - March 2021

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an information bulletin for recreational fishers


March 2021

Minor changes to recreational fishing rules from 30 April 2021

Some minor changes to recreational fishing rules will come into effect on 30 April 2021 relating to the blue swimmer crab size limit and the use of ‘Opera House’ style yabby traps. These changes are being implemented following consultation with and support from the Recreational NSW Fishing Advisory Council.

Blue Swimmer Crabs size limit to increase to 6.5cm
The size limit of blue swimmer crabs will increase from 6cm to 6.5cm to help assist with protecting spawning crabs and to improve the productivity of the stock through time. It will also provide consistency between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors.
Yabby Net Giveaway
The NSW Government is giving away 5,000 yabby nets to recreational fishers as part of a comprehensive program to phase out the use of enclosed 'Opera House' style yabby traps in NSW from 30 April 2021.

'Opera House' style yabby traps can pose a risk to native wildlife such as platypus, water rats and turtles, which can inadvertently get caught in traps. 

Open top nets allow mammals to exit through the top, unlike 'Opera House' style traps which only have openings on the sides.  By transitioning to using open top nets, fishers can keep fishing, while also continue to do their part to protect our wildlife and ensure the ongoing health of our inland river systems.

‘Opera House’ style yabby traps are already prohibited east of the Newell Highway as well as parts of the Murray, Edward and Murrumbidgee Rivers west of the Newell Highway, where platypus are mostly abundant.

Up to five nets, comprised of either open pyramid lift nets, hoop / lift nets or a combination of both, can be used to catch yabbies in all inland waters where it is legal to use lift nets.

To assist with this transition, the Department of Primary Industries are giving away 5,000 open-top nets. To obtain a free open-top yabby net, please phone (02) 6051 7760(Monday to Friday). You can also collect one from these locations:
  • Tamworth Agricultural Institute, 4 Marsden Park Road, Calala Hours,  8.00 am - 4.00pm 
  • Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, 7878 Mitchell Highway Trangie,  8.00 am - 4.00pm 
  • Narrabri- Australian Cotton Research Institute, 21888 Kamilaroi Highway, Narrabri 8.30am - 4.30pm 
  • Narrandera Fisheries Centre- John Lake Centre, 70 Buckingbong Rd, Gillenbah 9am - 2pm
More information about the recreational fishing rule changes are available online at https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/info/yabbytrap-faqs, or by contacting your local NSW DPI Fisheries office.

Have your say on proposed fisheries and aquaculture regulation changes

DPI is currently seeking feedback on a range of proposals to amend fisheries and aquaculture regulations. These proposals have been identified by stakeholders and DPI to better manage our fisheries resources and reduce unnecessary red tape.

We are seeking feedback from the commercial fishing industry, Aboriginal fishers, recreational fishers, aquaculture operators and anyone else with an interest in fisheries and aquaculture regulations.

Some of the proposed regulation changes relate to commercial fisheries and have been identified by the commercial fishing industry to improve their business efficiency. The NSW Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council has considered these proposals and recommended that they proceed to broader community consultation.

Other proposed fisheries and aquaculture regulation changes have been identified that benefit a range of fisheries resource users including commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishers, aquaculture operators and charter fishing businesses. 

For further information on the proposals and to make an online submission please visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/commercial/open-for-comment. Submissions will close 30 March 2021. 

Murray Cod Fishery Boosted By Massive Stocking Effort!

The NSW Government’s annual Murray cod stocking season has just concluded, with more than 500,000 juvenile cod released into rivers and dams. 
This massive stocking effort is great news for the legions of keen anglers who target these iconic native sportfish.
The juvenile cod were bred at the DPI Fisheries Centre at Narrandera and were released into selected waterways over the past two months. 
The stocking sites include popular impoundment fisheries such as Copeton, Blowering, Wyangala and Burrinjuck dams, along with drought recovery releases within the Darling, Lachlan, Macquarie and Namoi River catchments. 
This season’s stockings will not only boost recreational fishing opportunities but will also assist in the long-term recovery of Murray cod populations following recent drought and low river flow conditions. 
It’s great to see that many keen anglers and their families have been getting out into our regional communities over the holiday period. From all the reports, the fishing has been excellent, which is fantastic news for fishers and for our regional economies!
If you’re planning on heading out to target cod in our inland rivers and dams, make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules. Details on freshwater bag and size limits are available at https://bit.ly/2Y2wNsF.

The Murray cod stocking program is another great example of your fishing fees at work!

Check Out the 'Fishing Stream' on Kingfish!

Episode 5 of DPI’s popular “The Fishing Stream” livestream series was held recently on our DPI Fisheries Facebook page.
The featured species this episode was the mighty kingfish. There was a fantastic crew of fishing and DPI experts to provide you with key info on this iconic sportfish. But don’t worry if you missed it, you can still go back at any time and watch the recording. You can also re-watch our previous episodes featuring key species such as snapper, mulloway and flathead.

The latest livestream was staged at McCallum’s Tackle World at South Nowra on the NSW South Coast and featured presentations on kingfish biology, responsible fishing and proven techniques and tackle.

DPI’s The Fishing Stream series is another example of your fishing fees at work.


Rare Longterm Yellowfin Tuna Recapture

From time to time the NSW Game Fish Tagging Program is lucky enough to receive details of recaptures that come from remote regions of the Pacific Ocean.

Recently, a game fish recapture form was submitted by a researcher from the Japanese Fisheries Research Institute. The fisheries researcher had received a tag from a skipper of an international longline vessel who had just returned from a long-distance fishing voyage throughout the Pacific Islands. During this trip, the commercial vessel managed to capture a mature tagged yellowfin tuna whilst fishing an area known as the Pocklington Trough, which is east of Rossel Island, Papua New Guinea. 

A quick search of the database found that the tuna was tagged at the Southern Canyons offshore of Port Hacking, NSW. The fish was originally caught on 17 July 2016 by Gina Cleaver, who was fishing aboard game fishing boat Double Edge. The juvenile tuna was estimated it to be only 5kg when it was tagged whilst upon recapture the fish weighed 61kg, highlighting an impressive growth rate. The fish spent 1649 days at liberty and was caught over 1330 nautical miles (~2460km) from its original release location.

The NSW Game Fish Tagging Program is another example of your fishing fees at work. 

School is Back and so is Get Hooked!

Calling all teachers and parents! Our popular FREE schools program is back for 2021. The program is available for all NSW students, both primary and secondary, and teaches the basics of sustainable recreational fishing, fish handling, safety around our waterways and also involves a practical fishing lesson!
For more information and to join this program see Get Hooked Schools Program or send us an email gethooked.fisheries@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

FREE Learn To Fish Workshops 

Want to learn more about fishing in your local waterway? Then jump onto our fishing workshops webpage at https://bit.ly/3oKUv8J and save it as a favourite.  The page has a list of our FREE Kids Fishing Workshops scheduled over the coming months and is updated regularly!  So keep an eye on the webpage for a location near you and how to book a place.

The workshops include practical fishing sessions as well as great tips on how to fish responsibly and sustainably. You’ll get a chance to ask local experts all the information you need to get started fishing in your local area! All equipment is supplied - just “slip slop slap” and come along.

As a COVID precaution, each family group participating must have a responsible adult in attendance to assist with practical fishing.

NSW DPI Fishing workshops are run by our Education Officers with the assistance of Fishcare Volunteers and are supported with funds from the Recreational Fishing Trusts. This is your fishing licence at work!


Kingfish Stocking Monitoring Program – a call out to budding citizen scientists

In late 2018 NSW DPI released 9000 Yellowtail Kingfish into Botany Bay, with a further 6500 released last year. Researchers are attempting to determine the contribution of these fish to the recreational fishery within the Sydney region and have initiated a small citizen science program. By collecting fin clips of captured fish, genetics can be used to identify stocked fish from their wild counterparts. This approach is great as it allows captured fish to be returned to the water while still obtaining important data.

We are looking to expand the program and include additional anglers. If you regularly fish for Kingfish within the Sydney region and want to be involved in a fisheries-based citizen science program, please get in touch. 

For more information email fisheries.enhancement@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Latest Additions To Go Fishing Series!

Two new additions to our popular Go Fishing guidebook series have just been delivered by our printers!

Guides to fishing around the Coffs region along the NSW South Coast and the highly popular Hawkesbury River region just north of Sydney are now available. We’re organising delivery of these latest publications to local tackle shops, Fisheries offices and tourism centres so make sure you pick up a copy. Alternatively, we’re happy to mail them out to you. Send your mailing details to fisheries.info@dpi.nsw.gov.au and let us know which guides you’d like us to send.
The new Coffs and Hawkesbury guides now take the total number of DPI’s Free Go Fishing publications to 12. Other areas covered include Jervis Bay, Tuross Lake, St Georges Basin, Lake Macquarie, Botany Bay, Sydney’s Middle and North Harbour, Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, Sydney Harbour, the Snowies and Blowering Dam. And we’ve got new guides on Bermagui and Lake Windamere in the pipeline – stay tuned on when these guides will be available.
Each Go Fishing is designed to provide new and/or visiting anglers and their families with practical info on the fishing opportunities in regional areas of NSW. Each guide features maps detailing proven locations, handy tips for key species, techniques, tackle suggestions, seasons, basic rules and regulations, dietary advice, responsible fishing messaging, area overviews and more.

The print editions of the Go Fishing guides are augmented by digital copies. If you’re interested in checking the info online, follow the link below and download one or all of them today. Again, it’s completely free! Make sure to click the ‘Go Fishing’ tab once you are on the page https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/info.

The DPI Go Fishing guides are a great example of your fishing fees at work.

Total Allowable Catch (TAC) Consultation

A new Total Allowable Catch (TAC) determination is required to be made for the following quota species for the fishing period 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022:
Have your say
DPI Fisheries invites all members of the public, including all stakeholders and interest groups, to make submissions on the appropriate level of TAC for the species above.
All submissions should be directed in writing to:
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Subject – TAC determination submission – (please indicate fishery/species)
Closing date for submission is 22 March 2021
More information
Status of Australian Fish Stocks at www.fish.gov.au 
NSW DPI website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/TAC
Commercial Fisheries Hotline 1300 726 488

Access your Recreational Fishing Licence on your Smartphone

To help keep our recreational fishers and fisheries officers safe during COVID-19 consider downloading your recreational fishing fee receipt onto your smartphone or tablet device and assist with social distancing and minimise contact.

To access your digital licence, you'll need to have a MyServiceNSW Account and the latest version of the Service NSW app. Then just add your licence to your MyServiceNSW Account. Follow the link to get started! https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/get-started-digital-licences

Please note: A current email address and mobile number must be listed on the NSW Fisheries data base for any fisher to successfully link their fishing fee receipt digitally with the My Service NSW application. The same email and mobile number must be used for the My Service NSW application.

If you need to update these details, please call DPI Fisheries first on: 02 4424 7499 or email: recfish.licensing@dpi.nsw.gov.au and advise your current email address and mobile phone number. It takes approximately 1 hour for these details to update once the amendment has been finalised.

For more information on NSW recreational fishing fees check out the DPI website.


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Certainly not against the size increase of Blue Swimmers, a "just legal" crab is barely worth keeping unless you are not having much luck and are desperate for a feed (in my opinion) the issue I guess like all Fisheries is policing it. I have been crabbing and fishing in Lake Illawarra for decades and have only once been "inspected" and then it was two people in a boat driving slowly along my traps checking the floats and I assume counting them, it's kind of funny in a way, the boat was not marked and I gave them a "yell" telling them to be careful, they motored over and that's when I saw their uniforms, they were very polite, introduced themselves, asked me a few questions, told me to redo the names on the floats as they were fading a bit, checked my name and address and moved on. Mind you, I had only just set the nets so I didn't have anything for them to count or measure.

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Cheers, I’ve been tagging (and releasing of course) Kingies for DPI for a few years now. Only tag those over 70cm and have recaptured several (mostly 80+ fish), but the fin clipping is a much more realistic approach as the tags have to go in the right spot to stay put.

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