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West Coast demersal fish given two months rest

A two-month closure on the recreational take of demersal scalefish; such as pink snapper, baldchin groper and WA dhufish, is in place from today (Tuesday, October 15) and will continue through to Sunday, December 15 inclusive.


The two-month closure is part of a package of measures introduced by Fisheries in 2010, after consultation with recreational fishers and they are supported by Recfishwest.


The management measures are aimed at halving the recreational catch of demersal scalefish in the West Coast Bioregion (against 2005/06 levels) and were deemed necessary, following independently-reviewed scientific evidence, which indicated that key demersal species were being overfished and required immediate action to ensure long-term sustainability.


A separate package of measures aimed at commercial fishers was also introduced and has effectively reduced the commercial catch to the target levels.


“The good news is that preliminary research monitoring has showed that the management arrangements have been effective, and recreational and commercial fishers are both playing their part in ensuring the fishery has a sustainable future,” said fisheries manager Martin Holtz.


“The soon to be completed analysis of the first State-wide recreational fishing survey (conducted during 2011/12) and a stock assessment of key demersal scalefish species are eagerly anticipated and will provide the next step in evaluating the effectiveness of the management measures.”


If you catch a demersal finfish during the closed season you must return it to the water as soon as possible with the use of a ‘release weight’.


The other good news is that fishing is still allowed for a range of nearshore species such as whiting, squid and tailor which are highly popular with recreational fishers.


The West Coast Bioregion includes the area north of Kalbarri (27 degrees south) to east of Augusta (near Black Point).


Fishers are reminded to familiarise themselves with the full list of demersal finfish species in the state-wide Recreational fishing guide 2013, on pages 6-11.


The fishing guide can be downloaded at www.fish.wa.gov.au or collected from Department of Fisheries’ offices or Information Outlets.