The annual total fishing closure on the Mann and Nymboida Rivers and their tributaries commenced on 1 August and will run for three months until 31 October 2021.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director for Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty said the annual closure is in place to provide an increased level of protection to the endangered and iconic Eastern Freshwater Cod during its spawning season.
“Fishers are not permitted to target or take Eastern Freshwater Cod at any time; however, they require additional protection from accidental capture during their spawning season and that is why the total fishing closure is in place for three months,” Dr. Moriarty said.
“During the spawning season, Eastern Freshwater Cod become very protective of their nesting sites and therefore there is an increased probability that they will attack anything that comes in close proximity to their nest including other fish, fishing lures or baits.
“The closure area includes the Mann River and all its tributaries upstream of its junction with the Clarence River, including the Boyd, Sara and Guy Fawkes Rivers and the Nymboida River and all of its tributaries upstream to Platypus Flat.”
All fishing methods for any species of fish are prohibited during the closure period and it is also prohibited to be in possession of any fishing gear, in, on or adjacent to the closed waters.
“Eastern Freshwater Cod have endured a number of hard years of enormous environmental challenges ranging from prolonged drought and reduced freshwater inflows through to bush fires and the resulting impacts of reduced water quality,” he said.
“Thankfully, much of the Eastern Freshwater Cod habitat is situated within remote National Park and State Forest estate, where they benefit from isolation and intact natural ecosystems.
“Fisheries Officers from the Far North Coast Zone and the North West Zone will conduct regular monitoring of the closed waters during the three-month closure period and there will be limited tolerance for anyone found flaunting the rules.”
On-the-spot fines of up to $2,500 apply to anyone found to be taking or in possession of Eastern Freshwater Cod and fines of $500 apply to anyone who is found fishing or in possession of fishing gear in the closed waters regardless of what species they may be targeting.
The public are urged to report illegal or suspected illegal fishing activities to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or via the online report form.