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NEWSCAST - Recreational Fisheries News June 2022

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an information bulletin for recreational fishers


June 2022


New Dusky Flathead and Lobster recreational fishing rules - effective 1 August 2022

From 1 August 2022 there are new recreational fishing rules for Dusky Flathead and Lobster in NSW. This follows a comprehensive community consultation process which showed strong community support for the proposed changes.
The new changes for recreational fishers (line fishers and spear fishers) are:

  • Lobster – increase in bag/possession limit from 2 to 3 per person comprised wholly of any single species or a combination of species of Eastern Rock Lobster or Southern Rock Lobster.
  • Dusky Flathead – introduction of a slot limit of 36 cm – 70 cm (previously 1 over 70cm) and reduction of bag limit from 10 to 5 per person. Possession limit will remain at 10 per person.

These changes will help boost the stock of bigger Dusky Flathead and ultimately provide better fishing opportunities for recreational fishers for this highly popular species in the future. Support for the Dusky Flathead rule changes is consistent with community sentiment over the past decade for proactive, more conservative fishing rules, such as a slot limit, to provide for more protection of the spawning biomass in the Dusky Flathead stock.

The increased bag limit for Lobster will also provide for increased recreational fishing opportunities. DPI will continue to monitor and assess Lobster stocks. A new harvest strategy has also recently been finalised for the Eastern Rock Lobster Fishery that will guide decision making in the future.

These proposed rule changes have been developed in close consultation with the Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council, which provides advice to the Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW on recreational fishing matters.

Thank you to all the individuals, fishing clubs and organisations who provided submissions and comments during the community consultation process.

For more information on these changes see the frequently-asked-questions.






REMINDER: Applications for Recreational Fishing Trust Grants now open!

A reminder to fishers and community members that there is still time to apply for funding from the Recreational Fishing Trusts for projects that improve and promote recreational fishing across the State.

Anyone can apply for funding from the Recreational Fishing Trusts, including fishing organisations, councils, universities, community groups and individuals. Grants are available for both large projects valued at more than $10,000 in funding and small projects valued under $10,000.

Project areas previously funded include:

•    fishing access and facilities
•    enhancing recreational fisheries
•    recreational fishing education 
•    essential research on recreational fishing and

•    other projects that benefit recreational fishing

Funding guidelines and application forms are available at our website - https://bit.ly/3Ers2MD and applications close on 29 June 2022. We can be contacted by email on recreational.fishingtrust@dpi.nsw.gov.au

This is your fishing licence at work.






New artificial reefs for Central Coast and Forster!

The Central Coast has been announced as the next region to receive a new artificial reef in 2023.  The NSW Government has deployed nine offshore artificial reefs spanning from Tweed Heads to Merimbula and recently announced another to also be deployed off Forster in 2023.

DPI will now undertake further detailed assessments and consult with fishers and the community to determine the most suitable location off the Central Coast. For more information on the project and the other NSW artificial reefs visit the DPI website

This is another great example of your fishing licence fees at work!






Stellar Stocking Season for 2021/2022

We are in the final stages of the 2021/2022 fish stocking season which has so far seen over 4.8 million fish, produced at NSW DPI Hatcheries, released throughout the state.

This includes a record number of 1.27 million Murray Cod produced at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

On top of this over 265,000 Australian Bass, Golden Perch and Murray Cod have been released by local community groups, fishing clubs and councils as part of our Dollar for Dollar Native Fish Stocking Program.

Final stocking figures will be out following the close of the season.

For more information including an interactive stocking map, visit our Fish Stocking Webpage.







Flathead Tagging Records Set!

The trophy flathead tagging program has been powering along in a selected number of estuaries along the coast since early 2016. With a small team of dedicated and passionate anglers, there have been over 1,230 dusky flathead tagged and 170 reported as recaptured. While many flathead recaptures are often short term (less than 60 days), the program has now started to receive more longer-term recaptures which adds to our knowledge base and understanding of this popular recreational species.

One particular dusky recapture has set the bar for the longest time at liberty (days) and overall growth in cm. This fish was one of the first tagged under the “trophy flattie fishery” concept. The fish was originally tagged on 9 December 2016 by passionate angler and local fishing guru Peter Dugan, who owns and operates South Coast Estuary Charters. The fish was tagged in the Tuross River and measured in at 63.8cm.

On 7 February 2022 the tagged fish was then recaptured in the Tuross River by angler Brian Rowley. After the initial excitement of catching such a quality fish, Brian quickly got the details of the tag, measured the fish on a wet brag mat and then took a few quick snaps before re-releasing the fish in excellent condition. While the fish had moved less than one nautical mile from its original release location, it is the other data obtained that made this recapture exciting. The dusky had been at liberty for over 5 years and 2 months (1886 days) and had grown an impressive 23.2cm to 87cm during that period!

Each reported recapture contributes to our understanding of particular fish species. If you are lucky enough to recapture a tagged fish, please ensure you report it using our online recapture form, which can be found here: https://bit.ly/3NqLVId.






FADs season winds up

All good things come to an end including the warm water fishing season which is now winding up. Chilly morning westerly winds are appearing along the NSW coast and many saltwater fishers are now diverting their attention to other species such as snapper, bream and luderick. Coinciding with this change of season, the full network of NSW DPI's fish aggregating devices (FADs) have now been retrieved for winter maintenance.

FADs from Port Stephens to Eden were removed in early June with retrievals of the remaining North Coast FADs from Tweed Heads to Crowdy Head completed in recent days.

The good news is that the 2022-23 FAD deployments are scheduled to commence from September onwards, which is sure to be another bumper year! 

Before travelling to any of the 34 FAD locations throughout the State fishers are reminded to check out the DPI webpage https://bit.ly/2ZpLSX7 or download our DPI FishSmart app to confirm co-ordinates and which FADs are still on station.

The FADs program is another great example of your fishing fees at work!

📸 Photo courtesy of Dan Purkis.






Recreational Fishing and Camping Facilities Program

Recreational fishers, campers and boaters are set to benefit from new and improved infrastructure and facilities in NSW under the Recreational Fishing and Camping Facilities Grants Program. A total of $4.2 million in grants is being provided to 16 coastal and inland NSW councils across 25 projects to improve amenities throughout the State.

The projects will cover a wide range of work including fish cleaning facilities, new boat ramps, improved access arrangements, campground upgrades, BBQ facilities and toilets. Just some of the great projects funded include two new fishing platforms along the Port Macquarie breakwall, boating safety and fishing facilities upgrades at Carcoar Dam and upgrades to fishing, boating and camping facilities throughout the Shoalhaven region.

A total of $20 million of program funding was made available from the Commonwealth Government to all states and territories to provide Australian tourists with more and improved amenities as they travel throughout the country.






‘Advanced’ Trout Stocked In Snowy Lakes

For the second year running, the iconic Jindabyne and Eucumbene trout fisheries have been boosted with mass stockings of “advanced” rainbow fingerlings.

Bred at DPI’s Gaden Trout Hatchery, the fish measured about 15cm and were produced using the hatchery’s heater/chiller technology to maximise growth rates.  A “standard” trout fingerling is usually stocked at about 4-5cm. These larger sized fingerlings are expected to have excellent survival rates and should reach legal size of 25cm within 12 months.

Crews of enthusiastic anglers organised by the Monaro Acclimatisation Society (MAS) and the Jindabyne Fishing Club assisted DPI in stocking 10,000 advanced sized rainbows into both Eucumbene and Jindabyne.

These stockings of larger fish are part of an initiative developed by DPI in close consultation with key stakeholders such as MAS to enhance fishing opportunities and boost the socio-economic benefits of trout fishing to regional communities.

As noted, a key aspect of the stocking events involved the support and assistance of anglers in distributing the fish to key habitat locations around the lakes to maximise survivability. Thanks for the help, guys! 

These stocking events are a great example of your fishing fees at work!






We Love Our Fishcare Volunteers 💙

NSW DPI would like to say a HUGE thanks to all our amazing volunteers, past and present.

Thank you for the great work that you do across the state to help us promote sustainable and responsible recreational fishing through fishing workshops, events and in school education. We would not be able to do what we do without you!

If you’re passionate about sustainable fishing, meeting other like-minded people and fostering our fishers of the future, and would like to volunteer your time to make a difference, we’d love to hear from you. Check out the link here https://bit.ly/37ZjNwd.

Our volunteer program assists with building a healthy future in NSW for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.







Operation Mike Alpha

Just a reminder that the recreational fishing bag and possession limit for Mulloway is one fish per person. These limits are in place to help rebuild the Mulloway stock so that catching the mighty Mulloway will be more of a common occurrence for all fishers in the future.

DPI are planning to launch Statewide operation Mike Alpha on the 1st July 2022 and run for 12 months. The Operation will focus on all fishing sectors to ensure that take of Mulloway is lawful.

To report suspected illegal fishing activity, call 1800 043 536 or report it online at https://bit.ly/3PO3zHy.

For more information on recreational fishing rules, head to the DPI website https://bit.ly/3PLzsAD.






Don’t Use Opera House Style Yabby Traps In NSW!   

A quick reminder that yabby traps are now prohibited for use by recreational fishers in ALL NSW WATERS to help prevent inadvertent capture of native wildlife.

Do your bit to save our native aquatic wildlife and do not use “opera house” style yabby traps. Instead, eco-friendly open pyramid lift nets or hoop nets should be used as alternatives to yabby traps in all waters where recreational yabby fishing is permitted.

Unlike the old-style traps, the open-top lift design of the new nets will allow non-target species such as platypus, birds, and turtles to exit the nets if they inadvertently swim in while searching for food. Recreational fishers should now only be using these open-top nets when targeting yabbies. Penalties apply if anglers use the now-banned opera house style traps.

Please dispose of any unwanted opera house traps responsibly.

Eco-friendly yabby nets are widely available in tackle stores and other fishing retail outlets across NSW. It is important recreational fishers understand the rules surrounding the use of open-top nets and are aware of the consequences for using the incorrect equipment when targeting yabbies in NSW waters. By following these rules, fishers can take the lead in fishing responsibly and catching a great feed of yabbies while making a real difference to our environment.

DPI Fisheries is working with the commercial yabby sector to adopt new trap designs to ensure ongoing protection for native species.

More information about the recreational yabby fishing rule changes is available at https://bit.ly/3a5vO46.






Research Angler Program expands to include two new drop off locations 

Adreno Spearfishing Sydney and Ocean Hut Compleat Angler Narooma are the latest tackle stores to jump on board the Research Angler Program (RAP) as a drop off location!  

If you are interested in donating your fish frame to the RAP drop in and see Craig and his staff at Adreno in Alexandria or Darryl and his staff in Narooma and they will happily accept your donations. Both stores have donation labels and sample bags on hand to make it simple to donate your frame

The RAP now has 33 participating locations right along the NSW coast where you can donate your frames. Check out this link https://bit.ly/3jmDq2A for the full list. 

If you want to get involved, all you need to do is donate the frames (or skeletons) of mulloway, snapper, kingfish, dusky flathead, blue spot flathead, pearl perch or spotted and Spanish mackerel, after you fillet fish for the table.  
Each frame you donate to the RAP you not only get to find out interesting biological information about your fish but also give you a chance to win one of five fantastic $50 fishing tackle vouchers in our monthly prize draw! 

To find out more on the program, head to https://bit.ly/36yWCIE.  

The RAP is another example of your licence fees at work.







Unlawful use of nets and seized fish at The Entrance

With stunning weather on the Central Coast recently, there were plenty of people out and about wetting a line. Fisheries Officers were pleased to see that most fishers were compliant with NSW's fishing rules and regulations. The use of Variable Message Boards (VMS) at popular fishing spots also helped promote the message to fish responsibly.

Unfortunately, not everyone heeded this message. Four people were inspected by Fisheries Officers late one Sunday night near Picnic Point boat ramp at The Entrance, right next to a VMS.

Two of the people were found by Fisheries Officers to be in possession of two cast nets and a bucket containing 120 fish including Tarwhine, Yellowfin Bream, Dusky Flathead, Sand Whiting, Luderick and Flounder. 15 of these fish were also of prohibited size.

The cast nets were seized along with the 120 fish with compliance actions to follow.

Fishers are reminded to familiarise themselves with NSW's fishing rules and regulations before heading out. Downloading the free NSW FishSmart app is a quick and easy way of accessing everything you need to fish responsibly.

Anyone observing suspected illegal activity should call the DPI Fishers Watch service on 1800 043 536 or report it online at: https://bit.ly/3PO3zHy.











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