Why You Need To Get Behind Slot Size Limits For Flathead In NSW.
- Scott Lems and Brad Ritson aren’t fisheries scientists – but they don’t need to be in order to see what’s happening. Scott’s been fishing for flathead for 40 years and like many experienced anglers he’s noticed a decline in the fishery. Not so much in the number of overall fish, but definitely in the number of big fish.
- These two passionate Aussie fishos are leading the push for a slot size limit of 40-70cm to be introduced for Dusky Flathead in NSW. They’ve created a petition that already has almost 8000 signatures.
- Here’s why we should all get behind it:
- All seriously big flathead are female. They’re the breeders. Many people claim that big flathead aren’t fertile but this has been disproven over and over by the science – we need to put that lie to bed once and for all.
- Just like not all humans have the right genes to grow tall or to live long, not all flathead have the genes to grow large. Every large fish we remove depletes the gene pool. In the end, we might finish up with a population that is genetically unable to spawn big fish.
- Minimum size limits ensure that fish reach breeding size. Bag limits ensure we don’t remove fish faster than they can replenish. Neither of these, in isolation, protects the fishery from losing big fish. Only slot size limits can achieve that.
- These principles don’t just apply to flathead, they apply to all species. If we keep taking the big fish we are selectively removing the “big fish” genes from the population and over time will get less and less big fish, even if there are plenty of small fish. Once that happens, no amount of bag limit or minimum size limit tightening will fix the situation. That’s why all big fish of every species should be returned to the water unharmed.