HAPPY VALLEY: Keen young angler Eli Thomas, fishing with his dad Peter Thomas and family with a beautiful tailor, taken out from Happy Valley on Fraser Island last year.
HAPPY VALLEY: Keen young angler Eli Thomas, fishing with his dad Peter Thomas and family with a beautiful tailor, taken out from Happy Valley on Fraser Island last year. Contributed

Demands for tougher restrictions as tailor catches decline

TOUGH new sanctions were needed if Queensland's once plentiful tailor fishery population were to recover according to a key fishing advocate.

Queensland Recreational Fishing Network and Fraser Coast Fishing Alliance advocate Lindsay Dines of Teewah said catches by recreational and commercial fishers continued to be abysmal.

He said management measures including temporary closures for spawning, bag and size limits and commercial quotas have not been effective in maintaining tailor populations during a period of la Nina which would normally be beneficial to fish populations.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries holds a different view. It considered tailor fishing sustainable.

Commercial catch rates across the Sunshine Coast, Cooloola and Fraser regions have been in sharp decline.
Commercial catch rates across the Sunshine Coast, Cooloola and Fraser regions have been in sharp decline.

A spokesperson put the decline in catch rates down to a number of factors.

These included a change to the minimum legal size of tailor in 2009, introduction of a Total Allowable Commercial Catch limit 140 tonnes for commercial fishers in the same year, fewwer commercial beach fishers targeting the species and an overall reduction in the number of commercial fishing licences operating in the fishery.

Catches of tailor Queensland have been in a  state of almost continual decline since 1990 A bumper 2001 haul of 248.4 tonne in 2001 had fallen to just 59.99 tonne last year.
Catches of tailor Queensland have been in a state of almost continual decline since 1990 A bumper 2001 haul of 248.4 tonne in 2001 had fallen to just 59.99 tonne last year.

The spokesperson said the department's Sustainable Fisheries Strategy would move Queensland to best practice fisheries management over the next decade.

Mr Dines said all species caught from the region's surf beaches were struggling.

"Species that could be considered invasive such as bonefish and long tom are now filling this void,” he said.

The total Queensland wide commercial tailor catch fell to just 58.99 tonnes last year from a 1965 peak of 430 tonne.
The total Queensland wide commercial tailor catch fell to just 58.99 tonnes last year from a 1965 peak of 430 tonne.

"Though native to Australian waters, bone fish and long tom are not endemic here in the numbers now seen and are of little commercial, recreational or ecological value.”

He wants a reduction in bag limits and an increase in minimum catch size for recreational fishers and a total netting ban for the recognised spawning locations of Fraser Island and the Cooloola coast.

The Sunshine Coast/Cooloola/Fraser Coast region returned a commercial catch of just 10.9 tonne in 2017 against a peak of 130.56 tonne in 1996.

The total Queensland catch was just 58.99 tonnes in 2017 falling off a 2001 return of 248.4 tonne and 430 tonne recorded in 1965.

"We have arrived at the point after several years of waiting for some sign of population recovery, that stringent measures are now required to assist this ecologically vital and iconic species,” Mr Dines said.

"The recovery of tailor populations will require areas to be closed to netting in the recognised spawning locations in the Cooloola and Fraser Island region.

"I would suggest that decreased bag limits and increased size limits for recreational anglers would be beneficial along with gear restrictions at Fraser Island by recreational fishers such as ganged hooks to reduce release mortality of undersized fish.”

The department spokesman said a netting closure was already in place at Fraser Island, between August 1 and September 30, coinciding with the peak spawning period for tailor.



Coffs’ alleged drug syndicate members set to be sentenced

premium_icon Coffs’ alleged drug syndicate members set to be sentenced

The alleged members had been dealing commercial quantities of cocaine, ecstasy and...

Family’s horror after finding armed woman hiding in laundry

premium_icon Family’s horror after finding armed woman hiding in laundry

The woman was carrying a knife and screwdriver.

ATTACK: Man left injured after home invasion

premium_icon ATTACK: Man left injured after home invasion

The four assailants were armed with a baseball bat, golf club and knife.