David Steele with a 19.7kg jewfish at the 2019 Boyne Tannum HookUp.
David Steele with a 19.7kg jewfish at the 2019 Boyne Tannum HookUp.

Popular fishing comp shifts focus amid new quotas

IN A pre-emptive step to preserve jewfish numbers, the decision has been made to remove the species from the 2020 Boyne Tannum Hookup.

Rule changes mean new quotas could be reached by May so rather than face uncertainty the committee acted early.

President Jenni McGuire said the competition was dedicated to sustainable fishing and as not everyone was able to keep up with changes in legislation they made the choice to take it off.

The Queensland Fisheries Department implemented the changes to protect the black jewfish from serious sustainabilty concerns.

Significant increases in catch over the last 12-18 months has seen numbers decline along with evidence of a significant black-market trade.

The swim bladders fetch extreme high prices, up to $900kg in Asia where the bladder is sought as an aphrodisiac.

A 20 tonne quota has been set even though some fishers claim the low number is an over-reaction that is doing more harm than good and not based on research.

The quota is already one third filled since the jewfish season opened on January 1, throwing a question mark over the Boyne Tannum Hookup and the spotlight on the big barra.

"Quotos could be reached by May so rather than have that unknown we decided to remove the species from list," Mrs Mcgurie said.

"That reduces the number of species from 17 to 16, but at the same time the barra catch and release is now targetting overall length.

"In Gladstone we have a fair size in our barra, and that's in the dam and in the saltwater."

Mrs McGuire said Gladstone was becoming a very good fishing destination both at Lake Awoonga and the Port of Gladstone saltwater and to maximise on the region's potential they were working with the Rockhampton fishing tourism group.

"We understand we are the premier barra destination, and if you're going to come this far you need to fish both Rocky and Gladstone regions.

"They do weigh in some monsters."