Pet cats a strain on fish stocks

WE'VE cried foul or, rather, feline about it before, but the message isn't getting through. Spoilt moggies are eating more wild seafood than their owners. Surely it's time to feed the fat cats liver instead.

WE'VE cried foul or, rather, feline about it before, but the message isn't getting through. Spoilt moggies are eating more wild seafood than their owners. Surely it's time to feed the fat cats liver instead.

According to a paper by Sena De Silva and Giovanni Turchini titled Towards Understanding the Impacts of the Pet Food Industry on World Fish and Seafood Supplies, Australian cats wolf down 33,500 tonnes of seafood per year. The seafood is a mix of imported and local produce.

But the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association makes the point that it lands just 18,000 tonnes of fish per year. So the annual catch of the NSW and Victorian trawler fleet would need to double just to sate pet cats.

At the same time, pet ownership is increasing globally and, thus, putting increasing pressure on wild fish stocks. Thanks to the generosity of their owners, pets are being fed top-shelf seafood these days.

The current rate of seafood harvest for the sake of our cats is putting undue pressure on wild fish stocks.

Pet food is one of the fastest-growing products in world trade, but there are smarter choices than pilchards, tuna and suchlike on the supermarket shelves. Look at the labels, pick sustainable brands or better still feed them rabbit or make your own pet food.

Meantime, the aftermath of the east coast low-pressure system is a great time to fish. Snapper will be snapping on the inshore reefs, jewfish should be in greater numbers in our estuaries, while big kingfish make a showing in Pittwater and Sydney Harbour.

Bream are about in good numbers, with some thumpers to 40 centimetres, while the deep holes such as those off the runway in Botany Bay are producing plenty of trevally.

Once the impending high pressure system arrives, the flathead will be back on the chew.

An early run of whiting along our Northern Beaches is keeping sand-kickers busy. Live worms are the ticket, but avoid weed inundations from the recent storm.

One fish that doesn't mind it rough is the Aussie salmon. The fish will be schooling around our bay and harbour mouths. Try small metal lures or saltwater fly.

Luderick are lining up, with especially big ones around Broken Bay, Sow and Pigs in Sydney Harbour, and the mouth of Port Hacking.

Boater-based anglers berleying and baiting with bread have been scoring some thumper black drummer. In fact, the fishery around the base of Sydney's otherwise inaccessible cliffs has been so productive local guides are using it as their trusty fallback.

Game fishers will note the tongue of warm water way out off Newcastle. It's only a matter of time until the warm water kisses the coast and we have a marlin bite. Once the weather settles there should be yellowfin tuna on The Shelf, too.

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