SNAPPER fishing will be banned for six weeks across Queensland from February 15 to March 31. It applies to all recreational commercial and charter fishing of snapper teraglin and peal perch.

Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin announced the ban while releasing a [url=]Regulatory Impact Statement[/url] (RIS) for public consultation. Have your say on it.

Its aim is to allow fish stocks to regenerate so that a sustainable hobby and commercial industry can survive long term.

The RIS accompanying the ban calls for public feedback until February 28.

Other ideas put forward in the RIS include:

• The introduction of individual catch limits (quotas) on commercial fishers and charter operators
• Improved education catch recording and compliance by the recreational sector paid for by a snapper permit for recreational fishers
• Closures to make snapper and possibly other co-caught species like pearl perch and teraglin no take for certain periods for all or some sectors
• Changes to bag limits for charter and recreational fishers
• Limiting the take of the commercial snapper quota to line-fishing gear.

Mr Mulherin pointed to two Fisheries Queensland audits of snapper in 2006 and 2009 that revealed snapper levels were less than 35 per cent of unfished levels.

Fish levels below 40 per cent of unfished levels are categorised as overfished according to accepted international standards.

“These reviews were conducted following concerns raised by the recreational fishing sector” he said.