Authorities in ‘ghost fishing’ crackdown
DOZENS of derelict and abandoned crab pots have been pulled from Queensland waters as authorities crackdown on "ghost fishing".
Fisheries Queensland has warned fishers face fines for not identifying their gear, with abandoned nets and pots often trapping and killing fish and turtles.
The "rolling" clean-up of dumped gear recently focused on Gladstone waters, including the South Trees Inlet and Calliope River.
Fisheries officers from Gladstone and Yeppoon pulled in nearly 70 abandoned or non-compliant pots and unattended fishing net.
"The equipment was deemed to be in a poor state and of no commercial value so we had no option but to destroy it," Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said.
Mr Furner said abandoned nets and pots could be deadly for fish and turtles because it can continue "ghost fishing" - trapping sea life in equipment that is never checked and cleared.
"Doing this work reduces the pressure on our fish and crab stocks, leaving more for both commercial and recreational fishers and protecting jobs in both sectors," Mr Furner said.
"This contributes to building a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren."
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said it was every fisher's responsibly to make sure their gear was compliant.
"I urge fishers to remove their crab pots from the water when they leave a fishing site," Mr Butcher said.
"It is important to mark crab pots with the owner's surname and address.
"These resources belong to all Queenslanders and we need to make sure they are protected for future generations of commercial and recreational fishers."
Fishers can be fined $261 for failing to mark apparatuses correctly or failing to use a prescribed float.
People who see suspected unmarked, lost or abandoned crabbing apparatuses should record an accurate location, such as GPS coordinates, and report it to their closest Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol office or the FishWatch hotline on 1800 017 116.