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Seven washing machines for two nights’ fishing

Published by FiskerForum, 18-10-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Australian trawlermen fishing on what had always been clean ground are facing a new threat; the arrival of home-made artificial reefs dropped by anglers expecting that these will provide a habitat for fish.

The unwanted catches that the prawn trawlers are snagging is a weird collection of stoves, outdoor furniture, supermarket trolleys, PVC piping, buckets of cement and tool boxes, all wired together to keep it in place.

‘A week ago I got four ceiling fans, three tyres, about ten bricks and a fence panel all wired together,’ one reported.

A favourite is old washing machines, and one trawler had seven of these in two nights’ fishing in Hervey Bay.

An even more disturbing trend is that razor wire is making increasingly frequent appearances on the once clean ground, along with suspicions that this is being dumped to deliberately obstruct the prawn trawlers rather than simply to create habitats for fish.

The spots where the home-made reefs are kept secret, as the anglers dropping them want to keep their location to themselves, preferring to drop them away from the hard grounds where other anglers fish as they hope to keep their personal hotspots a secret.

The fishermen are pointing out that the state of Queensland can install CCTV monitoring systems on all commercial fishing vessels down to the smallest inshore boats – but it seems that fitting the same hardware to launching ramps the recreational fishermen work from is beyond them.

‘We all know recreational fishing is underpoliced but in this instance I think the solution is deploying vastly more official artificial reefs for recs,’ one of the fishermen affected commented.

‘Obviously these slapped together FADs work or so many recs wouldn't be dumping them out there, its always puzzled me that governments quote such high funding costs for artificial reef deployment when recs across the country are doing it on a shoestring budget. Maybe allow recs to deploy their own (environmentally approved) FADs in designated areas?’

Photos from Toby Luvboob, Greg Bell and Brendan Aucote are courtesy of the Australian Professional Fisherman Facebook page

Source: Australian Professional Fisherman

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