Flooded rivers remain off-limits to prawn trawling.
Flooded rivers remain off-limits to prawn trawling.

Flooded river prawns off-limits

SHORT-TERM fishing closures remain in place in flood ravaged rivers and estuaries.

The Department of Primary Industries is enforcing prawn trawling bans in eight river and lake catchments on the Mid North Coast including the Bellinger, Nambucca and Clarence rivers.

"The closures prohibiting trawling in ocean waters were introduced two weeks ago to protect fish and small prawns displaced by recent flooding," NSW DPI Director Commercial Fisheries Andrew Goulstone said.

"Our monitoring of conditions in these ocean waters has shown in most cases there is still the risk of non-target fish and small prawns washed out of the rivers being unintentionally caught in trawl nets."

The Richmond River is closed until next Saturday, February 25, along with the Clarence and Hastings

The Bellinger, Nambucca and Macleay will reopen to commercial fishing this weekend, while the Manning and Wallis Lakes will be off limits until Tuesday, February 21.

Mr Goulstone said the closures were implemented and extended with the support of local industry leaders.

"The action we have taken to temporarily stop trawling in these inshore areas following flooding is a standard management response to minimise the fishery's interactions with non-target fish and prawns."

"Allowing fish and prawns that are pushed out to sea an opportunity to settle and grow protects this valuable resource and should provide for increased production and better returns for local fishers.

Detailed information on the fishing closures is available at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au or by calling local Fisheries NSW offices.


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