Australian bass and estuary perch off the menu for three months

17/05/2010:   Industry and Investment NSW has warned anglers a three-month ban on taking Australian bass and estuary perch from all rivers and estuaries in NSW will commence on June 1.

I&I NSW Senior Fisheries Manager (Inland) Cameron Westaway said the zero bag limit was introduced because of feedback from the community during the three-year review into recreational fishing rules.

"The zero bag limit is designed to protect these important recreational species while they spawn," Mr Westaway said.

"Both Australian bass and estuary perch form schools and migrate to parts of estuaries with the correct salinity to trigger spawning."

"These great native sports fish are vulnerable to fishing when they are in large groups," he said.

Mr Westaway said the three month ban did not close any waters to fishing and would not affect anglers fishing for other estuary species such as bream or flathead.

"Any Australian bass or estuary perch caught must be immediately returned to the water with the least possible harm," Mr Westaway said.

"Fisheries officers will be increasing their patrols of bass and estuary perch waters to advise anglers on fishing rules and to enforce size and bag limits for other species.

"Anyone caught retaining Australian bass or estuary perch can be issued with an on the spot penalty of $500," he said.

Mr Westaway said the zero bag limit did not apply to Australian bass and estuary perch caught in freshwater impoundments and dams, as they will not breed in these areas.

"All fish in freshwater impoundments, like Glenbawn Dam and Glennies Creek Dam in the Hunter Valley, Brogo Dam near Bega and Clarrie Hall and Toonumbar Dam's in the northeast are stocked fisheries, and anglers may continue to fish for these species in these waters all year round," Mr Westaway said.

"I&I NSW stocks approximately 150,000 Australian bass in impoundments each year from our hatchery at Port Stephens Fisheries Centre, and also helps angling and community groups buy more than 100,000 Australian bass fingerlings each year for stocking under the Dollar-for-Dollar Native Fish Stocking program," he said.

Detailed information on fishing rules can be found on the I&I NSW website, at I&I NSW Fisheries offices, and at most bait and tackle stores.

via Industry and Investment NSW