GO FISH: Ken Crouch says the only fish left in the Burrum River system are ones you can't catch with a net.
GO FISH: Ken Crouch says the only fish left in the Burrum River system are ones you can't catch with a net. StewArt Photography

'Broken heart' over netting in river

BUXTON fisherman Ken Crouch's heart is "broken”.

The retiree moved to live on the banks of the Isis 13 years ago and fish.

But since netting prohibitions north and south of Bundaberg have been put in place there's now a lot of professionals netting in Mr Crouch's neck of the woods.

"You can't catch a fish,” he said.

"It's broken my heart - two to three years ago you could get some good fish here.

"Now the only thing left is stuff you can't catch in a net.”

Mr Crouch has gotten behind a petition to stop netting in the Burrum River system and has nearly 500 signatures.

He got involved after hearing about a Facebook page created to stop netting at a home brew store in Childers about six months ago.

"All the blokes my age are mad fishermen but we're not on Facebook so we printed some out and got it started on paper,” he told the NewsMail.

"The only way we can do it is get them banned.

"If they don't stop it now it there will be nothing left and it will take years to come back.”

Over Christmas Mr Crouch spent three days trying to catch a fish competing with three to four professional netters.

Mr Crouch said as soon as it flooded and the salt built up they would run the nets and take all the fish out.

"I bought this 13 years ago in my retirement to sit here and fish. It breaks my heart a lot of other blokes up and down the river are the same.”

So far there's been about 500 signatures on paper but Mr Crouch recently learnt that he needed permission from the clerk of the court for it to be accepted into parliament.

Thanks to the help of Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett the petition will be tabled.

He sponsored an online petition to stop netting in the Burrum River system recently meaning Mr Crouch will get a response from the government.

"I'm all for encouraging people to exercise their democratic right to have a say, and as their local MP I was happy to sponsor this petition,” Mr Bennett said.

"This petition is giving our recreational fishers that important voice.

"There's clearly some concern among residents that they aren't getting a fair go, and of course environmental concerns of decreased fish stocks have been raised.

"I acknowledge that there is a real concern among the community about the effect this is also having on the local tourism industry and local economy.”