Fishers urge to catch and release

Fishers urged to catch and release humanely

Wednesday January 21 2015, 10:15am

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is urging anglers to make sure the fish they catch and release end up living to swim another day. 

Catch and release is an important means of ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries resources and must be done in a way to maximise the fish’s chance of survival.

Fisheries Queensland Manager Regulatory Reform and Consultation Tony Ham said every fisher should be prepared to release some portion of their catch. 

“To comply with Queensland’s size and possession limits and fishing closures, fishers will often be required to return fish they catch to the water,” Mr Ham said.

“It’s important fishers use responsible fishing practices and fish handling techniques to ensure the fish they release have the best chance of survival.

“The survival of released fish greatly depends on factors such as the length of the fight, where the fish is hooked, and how the fish is handled and released.”

There are some tips fishers can follow to ensure the fish they release survive: 

use barbless hooks where possible

unhook fish using long-nose pliers or a hookout while they are still in the water

if you must handle the fish, always use wet hands or a wet cloth to reduce damage to the protective slime on the surface of the fish

use a knotless landing net

avoid placing fish on hot dry surfaces

for gut or gill-hooked fish, simply cut the line – hooks are expendable and the fish will fare better.

Mr Ham said Fisheries Queensland understands that many recreational fishers like to take photographs of their catch.

“If you do take a photograph, it is best to do this with the fish still in the water,” he said.

“Fish are not designed to be out of the water – most fish need water flowing over their gills to absorb oxygen.

“The longer a fish remains out of water, the greater the stress and harm they experience and the less likely they will survive once released.

“Any fish taken out of the water must be supported properly, with a hand under the tail and another near the pectoral fins – never suspend a fish from the mouth.

“For protected and regulated species, you are required to return the fish immediately to the water when caught.”