Prawns off the menu

RIVER mouths on the Coffs Coast have been closed to prawn trawling in the wake of last week's floods.

Three short-term prawn trawling closures have been introduced, with the mouths of Nambucca River closed until April 16 and the Bellinger River closed until April 23.

DPI director of fisheries Peter Turnell said the closures are aimed at protecting fish washed out of the rivers as a result of the floods.

“During floods a greater number of juvenile and non-target fish are flushed from the upper reaches of the rivers out to sea,” Mr Turnell said.

The waters adjacent to the currently closed rivers had only recently been re-opened after the February floods.

Mr Turnell said DPI officers have consulted closely with local commercial fishers and the new closures are 'in the best interests' of the fishery and the fishers.

He said the flood closures complement a number of rules and regulations in place to ensure the ocean trawl fishery was fished in a sustainable way.

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