Community News

Annual fishing closure to protect Eastern Freshwater Cod

Anglers are reminded the annual three month fishing closure of the Mann and Nymboida Rivers and their tributaries comes into effect this weekend, 1 August to 31 October 2015.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) District Fisheries Officer, Mr Joe Wright said all fishing in the specified area is prohibited to enable the endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod to spawn uninterrupted during its breeding season.
“The Mann-Nymboida sub catchment of the Clarence River has the only known, remaining wild, naturally reproducing population of Eastern Freshwater Cod,” Mr Wright said.
“This endangered species is particularly vulnerable to fishing activity during their breeding season due to the fact that the brooding male fish aggressively guard their eggs and larvae from predators, until they are old enough to fend for themselves.”
Mr Wright said even if an angler were to unintentionally catch one and immediately release it after capture, the short period of separation from the nest site could enable other predatory fish and animals to raid the nest and destroy the entire brood.
“There are a number of factors that threaten their long-term survival including; loss of genetic variation, inbreeding, loss of in-stream habitat, removal of riverside vegetation, pollution, and of course illegal fishing,” Mr Wright said.
The closed waters include the Mann River and all of its tributaries upstream of its junction with the Clarence River (which includes the Boyd, Sara and Guy Fawkes Rivers) and the Nymboida River and all of its tributaries from its junction with the Mann River upstream to Platypus Flat. The closure does not apply to notified trout waters, which are regulated separately.
Fisheries Officers from Inverell, Maclean and Coffs Harbour will be joining forces to conduct regular patrols of the closure area to detect and deter any illegal activity.
“It is prohibited to engage in any form of fishing activity or to possess any fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waterways that exist within the closure area,” Mr Wright said.
“Offenders, face on-the-spot fines of $500 with maximum penalties of up to $44,000 and/ or 12 months imprisonment upon prosecution.
“As a result of their endangered status, Eastern Freshwater Cod are totally protected throughout NSW regardless of where they may be found, it is illegal to target, take or possess them at any time.”
People can report suspected illegal fishing activity to the Fishers Watch phoneline on 1800 043 536 or online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/compliance/report-illegal-activity

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