Before you go fishing ‘Be a mate and check your bait’

School holidays are a great time for Queensland families to head out on the water for a spot of fishing, Biosecurity Queensland wants to make sure that fishers, both young and old, are using the right bait.

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Bill Byrne said using products such as raw and imported prawns as bait, could unknowingly introduce serious diseases into our waterways.

"The campaign we are launching today asks all fishers to check their bait before they go out fishing, to make sure it is Australian wild-caught bait from a quality bait supplier, or to catch their own,” Minister Byrne said.

“This message is very important, as we all need to do our bit to help protect our natural waterways and our fishing and aquaculture industries, which are vital industries in Queensland, by making sure diseases aren’t introduced or spread.”

To help get this message out to Queensland fishers, cricket legend and avid fisherman, Andrew Symonds, has come on board as the star of the campaign, featuring in a video advertisement and a series of posters.

“Andrew reminds us to not use prawns from the supermarket as bait as they are meant for human consumption only. He then hooks a big snapper with some prawns he caught himself, which reinforces the message to catch your own bait or buy it from a quality bait supplier,” Minister Byrne said.

Following an outbreak of white spot disease in December 2016, this message is more important than ever. In order to contain the spread of white spot in the Moreton Bay area, movement restrictions are in place from Caloundra to the New South Wales border.

The white spot disease program director, Kerrod Beattie, said this means all prawns, yabbies and marine worms caught in the restricted area must stay there.

“If you’re catching bait from the restricted area these holidays make sure you don’t take it out of the area, as doing so could spread the disease into other waterways. If you are not sure where the restricted area is then go to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries webpage to view the map,” Mr Beattie said.

“It is also important to remember to put all of your unwanted seafood scraps in the bin and not into waterways, as uncooked prawn waste could introduce disease that could devastate aquaculture industries, as well as our natural environment.”

Watch the video advertisement featuring Andrew Symonds or visit www.qld.gov.au/checkyourbait for more information about using the correct bait this holiday season.

To find out more about white spot disease or to view the map of the restricted area visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/wsd.

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