by Carl Hyland
The long weekend in November is traditionally the start of the Tasmanian cray season and this year it got off to a flying start. With warm weather predicted, many families had booked time off work plus bought extra gear, made sure licenses were in order and booked camping spots around the state in preparation for the firing of the starting pistol. Those with pot licenses were allowed to set their pots from 1.00pm onwards the day before the actual season kicked off and could then pull there pots any time after midnight.
Spots such as Granville Harbour on the West Coast were popular, so to Burns Bay out of St Helens but the greatest number of people seemed to congregate at Southport in the south of the state. Many people are now diving for crayfish with hookah gear or tanks and this means that more Crays are selectively harvested, that is, size fish are taken and smaller ones returned with no stress.
Warmer water temperatures will ensure good Cray captures over the coming months and the trans locating of Cray from deeper waters in the South to the East of Tasmania will ensure good quantities of fish for both recreational and commercial fishermen in years to come.
Average size cray such as this are the norm.
Here’s some regulations pertaining to taking of Crays in Tassie, just in case you are thinking of hopping on the boat and coming over.
If you want to fish for rock lobster (also referred to in Tasmania as crayfish), you should be aware that the following rules apply:
A licence is required (and you must be 10 years or older to apply);
Seasons (different for male and female rock lobster);
Size limits (different for male and female rock lobster);
Bag and possession limits;
Boat limits and boat gear limits;
Marking of all kept rock lobster;
Regions and area restrictions; and
The rules apply to both southern rock lobster and eastern (green) rock lobster.
A licence is needed to take rock lobster and you must be 10 years of age or older to obtain a rock lobster licence. There are three types of licences depending on the gear that you want to use. The licences are for diving, using one pot or using up to four rings. The licence holder must personally set and retrieve any rock lobster fishing gear and another person may assist them if needed e.g. to lift the pot. See the licensing page for more information on licences.
Aborigines engaged in aboriginal fishing are exempt from holding a recreational fishing licence but must comply with all other rules. Where gear must be marked with a licence number, Aboriginal fishers should use the unique identifying code issue to them. Seasons
The fishery is open for fishing for:
Female rock lobster - from the first Saturday in November to 30 April of the following year.
Male rock lobster - from the first Saturday in November to 31 August of the following year.
You may only possess a rock lobster pot on State fishing waters from 6am the day before the season opens and only set a pot after 1pm on the same day. Pots may then be pulled after midnight.
More information available from http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/ALIR-4YG496?open#BagandPossessionLimi
Traditional Tasmanian cray pot made from pink wood and dogwood.