THE sustainability and ethics of NSW's commercial fishing industry is being called into question after an alleged mulloway haul on the state's South Coast.
According to sources, a local Eden commercial fisher used a drone to locate and catch 60 broodstock mulloway. The average reported size was 19kg with the biggest fish weighing 37kg.
Sources accused the commercial fisher of deliberately targeting and selling the fish under a "bycatch" rule which was introduced with the Recovery program in 2013. The bycatch rule for ocean haulers is a possession limit of 500kg of mulloway per day while targeting other species. The reported haul was worth $10,000.
This follows Monday's major announcement which saw a reduction in rec bag limits and the abolition of a 10 undersize fish loophole. Feedback from the state's fishers since that announcement was overall positive and accepting, however many voiced concerns the changes don't go far enough.
Given the fragility of mulloway stocks in NSW, should the targeting of large broodstock mulloway be allowed to continue?
Deliberate acts to target and kill brood stock for short term monetary gain will have dire consequences on local economies. Worse still, honest recreational and commercial fishers will bear the brunt of such irresponsible practices.
Is the professional fishing and seafood industries in NSW willing to speak up and put an end to these unsustainable practices within? The long term sustainability of their industry is at risk, not to mention their tarnished social licence.
What can be done? One suggestion is to stop payment for such practises. Should commercial fishers be paid for unsustainable catches? Greedy hauls of fragile stocks will stop immediately if payment is refused.
At a political level, given this week's announcement on mulloway rules, will the NSW Minister For Primary Industries Niall Blair commit to further changes to help recover fish stocks?
More to come...
Read more at http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/eden-beach-hauler-reportedly-kills-60-broodstock-mulloway