Fishing allowed in Queensland after coronavirus restrictions eased
Lifting of government restrictions sees return of recreational boating, fishing.
Queensland boaties can take to the water again for recreational purposes from this weekend.
The Queensland Government announced it would allow an easing of restrictions which were implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
From 11.59pm on 1 May, fishing for recreational purposes, boating for pleasure, water-skiing and the use of jet-skis is allowed.
Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk said the move followed a drop in the number of new COVID-19 infections but the measures would be reviewed after two weeks.
“The first sign of a spike we will not hesitate to clamp back,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
North Queensland fishing identity Eddie Riddle said it meant the month-long requirement for people to only fish for food and use their boats for essential travel was lifted.
“The difference is you can go out with the idea that you don't have to keep a fish,” Mr Riddle said.
“We don't have to fish for food – you can catch and release, you can sportfish.
“And pleasure boating is now on. I reckon there will be a lot of jet skis out this weekend.”
Mr Riddle said social distancing restrictions still applied and there were limits on who could be on board a boat.
“It hasn't changed the fact that if you're fishing in a boat you can only have one other person, if it's not a family member, and you still must maintain that social distancing,” he said.
Mr Riddle said family members who lived in the same household could go fishing together, with no limit on numbers.
“You can have, providing your family lives in the same household, two, three or four family members, whatever your boat’s legal capacity is,” he said.
“So, you can’t have you and your two kids and a mate. You can only have you and your two kids, or you and a mate.”
Mr Riddle said his business, Townsville Fishing Charters, was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has not operated since the first week of March and he started getting cancellations from late February.
“The state border closures were the next biggest thing that stopped a lot of my clients,” Mr Riddle said.
“Probably 60-70% of my clients are from interstate, with a small percentage international, and they couldn't get here.
“Even if they did lift the restrictions, I can't see me getting better for 12 months at least.
“I've got to plan out what I'm doing and how I'm going to keep my business afloat up until then.”
Photo above: Townsville Fishing Charters