Know your fish to avoid a brush with the law

Part 3: Belinda Cay’s survival guide for taking the family to the Murray for a day of fishing.

In Part 2   the family was baiting hooks and getting into the real thing. Today’s blog post contains some of the ‘need to know’ essentials.

Purple spots or brown spots? Yellow fins or blue fins? Big or small?

While fishing is a fun recreational activity, there is a serious side. In fact, it pays to know your fish and the law.

Freshwater species such as purple-spotted gudgeon, the chanda and pygmy perch, river blackfish, Murray cod, silver perch and freshwater crayfish – to name a few – are the delightful, protected locals cruising the Murray’s waters. And just a heads-up, if you take or cause harm to any of these protected species, you could face heavy fines.

There are a number of simple things you can do to minimise the risk of harm to protected species when fishing:

  • Know your fish. Have a look this comprehensive website with pictures to help identify protected species.
  • Choose safer hooks. Certain hooks (such as shank hooks) increase the frequency that a fish will be mouth-hooked rather than gut-hooked. There are also some tips and tricks you can follow.
  • Handle fish quickly and try and keep them in water. Fish are not designed for land so if you have caught a protected species, hold it with a wet towel or cradle carefully in a net and efficiently remove the hook. Needle-nosed pliers can help. Try to do this in the water if possible. 

On the other hand, introduced species like the European carp must not be put back. As a noxious pest that's outcompeting the locals, they must not be returned to the water.

For other fish, remember that size and amount matters. There are strict size and bag limits when catching fish and the rules must be followed so we can continue to enjoy fishing on the river in the future.

Interestingly, a little unknown fact is carp can be quite delicious. If you have a recipe let us know.

 

 

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