25 September 2023

Agencies get hooks into illegal fishing

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ACT Parks and Conservation Service has joined with the National Capital Authority (NCA) and the Canberra Fisherman’s Club to blow the whistle on the use of illegal “opera house” style fishing nets in the ACT’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Director of ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Daniel Iglesias said enclosed nets and traps of any kind were not permitted in Canberra region waterways.

“These kinds of nets are destructive to native wildlife and can kill platypus, water rats and the protected Murray River crayfish, which become stuck in the nets and drown,” Mr Iglesias said.

He said enforcement patrols have increased across all bodies of water in the ACT, targeting set lines, unattended rods, and checking size and bag limits.

“We’re also reinforcing the message that enclosed nets are illegal in the ACT — a message we’ve been communicating for well over a decade,” Mr Iglesias said.

He said the blitz coincided with the closure of the ACT trout fishing season on 11 June.

Mr Iglesias said rainbow and brown trout caught in ACT waters must be released unharmed while the current fishing restrictions remain in place until the October Labour Day long weekend.

“The ACT has an excellent reputation for recreational fishing and the ACT Government, with help from the NCA and Canberra Fisherman’s Club, have been working to reintroduce a selection of native fish, mainly Murray cod and golden perch, to ACT lakes,” he said.

“The blitz will ensure the trout are protected during their winter spawning season and will assist in protecting Canberra’s healthy freshwater ecosystem.”

Executive Director of the National Capital Estate at the NCA, Lachlan Wood said Lake Burley Griffin was gaining considerable interstate interest.

“Within the recreational fishing fraternity, our lake is now considered a destination native fishery and a reliable producer of football-shaped golden perch over 50 cm in length and 3–4 kg in weight,” Mr Wood said.

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