Eight short-term prawn trawling closures are being introduced from today to protect fish stocks impacted by flooding on the NSW North Coast.

Director, Fisheries Operations with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Peter Turnell, said: “The restrictions prohibit prawn trawling in ocean waters off the mouths of the Tweed, Brunswick, Richmond, Clarence, Bellinger, Nambucca, Macleay and Hastings rivers.

“The two-week restrictions are aimed at protecting fish washed out of the rivers as a result of the floods.
“They apply to ocean waters in an area up to 10 nautical miles from the river mouths.”

Mr Turnell said that during floods, a greater number of juvenile and non-target fish are flushed from the upper reaches or the rivers out to sea.

“On this occasion, as was the case with the last flood event on the Mid North Coast in April, NSW DPI officers have consulted closely with the local commercial fishers,” he said.

“They agree that the approach is in the best interests of the fishery and the fishers.”

Mr Turnell said the flood restrictions complemented rules and regulations in place to ensure the ocean trawl industry continued to be fished in a sustainable way.