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What coronavirus means for anglers and boaties

ANGLERS will be able to keep fishing after early advice from Maritime Safety had them all at sea.

Minister for Transport Mark Bailey tossed a life preserver to boaties on Tuesday when he clarified rules around recreational and commercial fishing.

"If you own a boat and want to head out in the water in your local community to fish for food this weekend, you can," Mr Bailey said.

The advice follows an earlier declaration by Maritime Safety Queensland that recreational boating was not permitted.

"If you need your boat to travel locally in your community, you can still do that."

 

Kim Andersen’s business Copperlode Fish and Kayak has been shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. But he can still get out on the water with his 10-year-old Cooper Luce. Picture: Marc McCormack
Kim Andersen’s business Copperlode Fish and Kayak has been shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. But he can still get out on the water with his 10-year-old Cooper Luce. Picture: Marc McCormack

However, charter fishing guides and everyone else on the water have to stick to COVID-19 social distancing rules.

"I can still go out with someone provided we maintain social distancing," sport fishing guide Kim Andersen said.

When taken with outdoor grouping rules, it makes for a lonely fishing trip - one angler and one guide per boat.

"It's not really sustainable," Mr Andersen said.

Although he can still take out his river boat, Mr Andersen's Lake Morris fishing operation was effectively shut down when council barred access to the recreational area of Copperlode Dam in an effort to restrict the spread of novel coronavirus.

"Our industry has pretty much shutdown, there's not much we can do about it - you can't get frustrated about it," Mr Andersen said.

Clifton Beach tackle merchants Bransfords Discount Tackle is still "ticking over" with enough passing trade from novice and seasoned anglers.

"We aren't setting the world on fire, but we are surviving," manager Matthew Bergamo said.

He has recommended anglers keep away from fishing jetties.

"Recently I have been telling people to go to the beach in the afternoon," Mr Bergamo said.

"As long as they don't go out with a group of people, they can sit with a bucket of prawns and a rod."

 

Local charter fishing operator Kim Andersen on his charter boat. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Local charter fishing operator Kim Andersen on his charter boat. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Cairns beaches are still open for the appropriately socially distanced angler.

"Fishing is a good sport to do alone," Mr Bergamo said.

"And at the end of the day you can come home with something to eat.

"Around creeks and rivers I'd be looking for secluded areas.

"There are lots of places around the Cairns area like the Barron River where you can be alone."

 

 

WHERE DOES SOCIAL DISTANCING APPLY?

At the boat ramp and on your boat.

How many people can be aboard?

 Sail alone

 With no more than one other person

 With family who ordinarily live in the same household as you.

What are essential reasons to be on the water?

 Exercise

 Fishing

 Commute to work, where the work cannot reasonably be performed from home

 Get groceries

 Give assistance or care to an immediate family member.

How far can boats go?

Stick to your local waters.