Speak up now or lose the Redclaw fishery!

Letter to The Editor by Jennifer Mondora

The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr John McVeigh, visited Tinaroo on Friday 26th September to meet with members of the Tableland Fish Stocking Society, tourist parks, local businesses, and concerned anglers to hear their concerns.

The issue addressed was the diminished Redclaw captures in Lake Tinaroo and measures requested to be taken to allow a Permit to restock Redclaw into Tinaroo, the removal of potential fines, and fisheries regulations to protect the fishery and pay for restocking – as soon as possible.

Mr McVeigh explained that the whole of the Queensland Fishery is under review at this time with submissions being accepted by email (qldfisheriesreview@mragap.com.au) until Thursday 30th October.

The number attending this lakeside meeting numbered over half the number of people who turned out for the Cairns meeting of all the fisheries including the crab, marlin, trawler, net, prawn, tourist, accommodation, charter operators, netters, GBRMPA, and recreational fishers from both freshwater and saltwater – so it was a very substantial turnout for just Redclaw.

Mr McVeigh has to weigh up the science, as Redclaw are an introduced species. As Redclaw are native only west of the range and any accidental escape into the Barron coastal river would be quickly snapped up and completely controlled by their predator, the eel – (which is why there are no Redclaw in coastal Queensland streams), then that in our view would be easily taken in favour of restocking.

I felt that the Minister took all of our concerns on board and with the science already available, including the previous escape of Redclaw into Liverpool Creek with a successful outcome, that the chance of reinstating the Permit to Stock Redclaw into Tinaroo will be successful. Our record is impeccable. In our view, it is only the removal of the bag limit and limited policing which has caused the decline of the Redclaw in Tinaroo.

Do you want Redclaw back in Tinaroo? Then do something positive and ask and explain why. I have done mine. Now it is up to you. I would send a copy to Mr McVeigh as well as emailing concerns to MRAG (email above). Do not bitch later that “someone” should have done it. There are no “someones” left, so it is up to you.

In short, what is needed is: “The Permit to Stock Redclaw into Tinaroo reinstated; and the regulation that the taking of berried up females be banned and a take of only 40 Redclaw per person be allowed from a maximum of four pots per person.”

To pay for all of this wonderful legislation allowing restocking the user should pay, with all Redclaw in stocked impoundments being added to the Stocked Impoundment Permit. I feel the lifestyle of the people fishing and the livelihood for all businesses servicing the people catching Redclaw should improve immediately. The “user pays” is now accepted as right.