Can I go fishing during the COVID lockdown?

Boating Image Association
Boating Image Association

Can I take the boat out and go fishing?

The government line is "We'll say it again - if it's not essential, you shouldn't be doing it."

This week, Queensland Government said that boaties can still take head out locally for travel or fishing, but only for "essential reasons", including catching fish for food, travelling to work, or using a personal watercraft, such as a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to keep fit.

But, fishing and boating for leisure in Queensland is not permitted.

Tasmania has strongly advised people against fishing, naturally around other people - where social distancing must be exercised, but word from the NSW Department of Primary Industries is that fishing is permitted for now.

Boating Industry Association released a statement suggesting stay home.

"With Easter school holidays rapidly approaching, our boating community would normally be thinking of getting out on the water in a boat or personal watercraft with family and friends. In the face of this disease and to comply with government directives we must all holiday at home this year to help safeguard the nation."Recreational boating will have to wait."

The offical statement from the BIA:

Queensland boaties can still take their boats out locally to fish or travel for essential reasons.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey clarified the rules for boaties as the evolving COVID-19 response restricted a range of activities.

"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.

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

"If you want to head out on your kayak or stand up paddle board for exercise, you still can.

"State Government boat ramps will remain open to boaties.

"We want people to continue living their lives as normally as possible under the current circumstances, but the advice of the Chief Health Officer needs to be followed.

"No one should be leaving their home unless it's absolutely necessary."

Mr Bailey said recent national directives limiting public gatherings to two people or less and limiting travel to essential purposes still applied.

"This isn't a special rule to let people out on the water for non-essential reasons this weekend," Mr Bailey said.

"There's no reason for anyone to be taking the boat out unless it's for essential travel to get to work, to and from your home, to local shops for provisions or catching fish for your family.

"Even then, there should be no more than two people, or immediate family members on board, and the social distancing rules everyone is being asked to follow still apply.

"Boaties should also be mindful of hygiene when putting boats in the water at public facilities."

Mr Bailey encouraged boaties to continue monitoring the national health advice on COVID-19.

"As the nation works together to stop the spread of the virus, there is new advice daily.

"Boaties should be aware of the current restrictions on boat use, and be prepared for that advice to change again, should tougher rules to limit public movements and interaction come in."