Legal Size Mackerel Qld
Why there are size and ownership restrictions and closures in Queensland The aggregated information on this website should not be considered a complete or accurate representation of legal requirements. Users have access to the relevant fishing rules and should seek legal advice themselves. Fisheries Queensland accepts no liability for any claims, losses, damages, costs or expenses of any kind, however arising from reliance on the information contained on this site. 1.5 m max or interdorsal length 60 cm max (round rays only need to comply with the maximum size limit of 1.5 m) Spanish mackerel fishing in Queensland has been regulated for some time. The legal size was set at 45 cm in December 1976 and increased to 75 cm in 1993. Commercial logbook data began in 1988, and recreational fishermen were banned from selling their catch in 1990. The limit of 10 catches of Spanish mackerel per fisherman was set in 1993 and fell to three fish per fisherman in 2003. In 2019, the limit was changed to have a maximum catch of six Spanish mackerel per boat, excluding chartered vessels. As you can see, this was a highly regulated fishery in Queensland. Available for download in PDF format www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/xbcr/dpi/fishingsizebaglimits.pdf I`ve been hunting Spanish mackerel for over thirty years, and although every season is different, I would say we catch as many mackerel now as we did three decades ago, and I`m by no means a gunnerel. Mackerel is a wonderful fish to catch, it has a screaming first run, responds to a variety of methods and is delicious to eat. The frames and heads are excellent crab bait, making mackerel a very “high-yielding” fish. In my local waters, mackerel, both showy and Spanish, arrives off the Gold Coast in December and stays until early June most years.
Each season there is a variable fish run and things like bait banks, freshwater runoff, north winds and water quality affect mackerel. It is not uncommon, when conditions off the Gold Coast are unfavourable, for schools of mackerel to move further south without interruption. Sometimes there isn`t much mackerel off the Gold Coast, while New South Wales ports have a great season. It is a fish from the coastal reefs of these areas, which I have never caught in a water depth greater than fifty meters. The first thing I noticed in this article is that commercial catches in Queensland have been declining since 1990, but the recreational catches assumed in this paper have remained relatively constant since about 2005. The Queensland Recreational Catch Assessment was conducted between 2016 and 2020 through boat launch surveys, which assessed mackerel catches at Queensland boat launches. The validity of these surveys is difficult to assess. While Spanish mackerel was specifically requested from 2016 to 2020, previous telephone surveys have asked for “mackerel,” which can include spotted mackerel, Queensland school mackerel, and wide-grilled or grey mackerel. These types of surveys have an inherent bias and cannot be blinded.
There is also no monitoring data on recreational fishing, and a number of years are omitted from the data, and the numbers are extrapolated as trend lines between the “before” and “after” assessments. There are also many “failures” of participants over time, which greatly affects the ability to assess the catch trend of individual fishers. The number of vessel registrations is also taken into account when assessing recreational catch. One factor I do not understand is that all the studies on the biomass of Spanish mackerel assume that it was 100% in 1911. All the graphs presented show a deterioration of this biomass to 60% at the end of the 1960s. During those 50 years, there was little recreation and the commercial fishery was small and local. The problem I have with this hypothesis is that between 1911 and 1960 there was actually no assessment of Spanish mackerel stocks and the 40% decrease in biomass was assumed, anecdotal and probably wrong. This early assumption essentially means that everything inferred about the percentage of available biomass is based on an incorrect figure from 1911. In this recent article, 8 models were used, covering a number of assumptions. These eight data sets yielded estimates of untapped spawning biomass between 14% and 57%.
This very large variation makes me doubt the validity of the methods used. While most of the data sets were at the lower end of the biomass level, the large number of assumptions made all refer to the assumption of 100% biomass in 1911! In the coming months, there will be a lot of talk about the possible collapse of the Spanish mackerel fishery in Queensland. It is important to know that the new methods used in the current stock assessment were different from the old methods, and the figure given is that there is currently only 17% of the total Spanish mackerel biomass. Personally, I believe that the conclusions of this document simply do not stand up to scrutiny and are based on various assumptions.