Sir Joseph Banks lagoon net closure for summer

The Sir Joseph Banks Group will be off limits for all net fishing during the summer holiday period under new guidelines developed by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

The Tumby Bay District Council wrote to PIRSA last year with concerns about net fishing in the lagoon area at the Group, including the impact on fish stocks available for recreational fishers.

Councillor Bob Lawrie first raised the issue at a council meeting last April, saying net fishermen would go into the lagoon on a dodge tide and “take as much as they could”.

The lagoon is an area of water next to Reevesby Island and up to the western edges of Partney and Lusby islands.

In a letter to the council on December 22, acting director of fisheries and aquaculture Sean Sloan said new management arrangements had been made to mitigate concerns.

The arrangement involves an annual closure of the lagoon area from December 15 to January 31, during the Easter holidays (including Holy Thursday) and long weekends.

There is also a ban on double drain-off netting shots in the lagoon area. 

The new arrangement was implemented from December 31.

Mr Sloan thanked the council for its consideration and for working with PIRSA, the Marine Fishers Association and the fishing industry to find a balanced approach.

Mayor Sam Telfer said he was surprised an arrangement had been made so quickly.

“I envisioned it to take more time to deliberate a directive because of the multifaceted aspects of this issue,” he said.

“I think the communication process has been robust.”

Councillor Helen Kroemer said she felt it had been a positive process with great discussions and positive outcomes.

Whyalla-based commercial net fisherman Graham Harrowfield, who was from Tumby Bay, is not happy about the closure and said it went against the promise the government made against further fishing closures.

He said the government stated there would be no more closures unless it was based on scientific evidence and if there were more closures there would be compensation for fishermen.

“You can’t say one thing and do another,” Mr Harrowfield said.

“It’s not about sustainability of fish stocks, it’s about taking away from one sector and giving to another.”


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