WA: Closures give demersal species a vital break

The annual pink snapper spawning closure in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds is now in force and recreational fishers are reminded of the importance the fishing break provides to the species.

South West Bioregions Manager Kevin Donohue said it was essential that fishers observed the closure to pink snapper fishing that applied in the Sounds.

“The four month spawning closure, which began on Saturday (1 October), runs until Wednesday 1 February next year (2012),” Mr Donohue said.

“Pink snapper enter the Sounds each year to spawn, when the water temperature starts to rise in spring and these spawning grounds, on the doorstep of the Perth metropolitan area, play a vital role in supporting the species.

“It is important that adequate protection is provided for the breeding fish.”

“Research tagging work has shown pink snapper will travel considerable distances to join the spawning aggregation and Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds are the most important nursery area for pink snapper in the West Coast Bioregion (that extends from near Augusta in the South to north of Kalbarri).

“During the closure period, pink snapper taken outside of the Sounds can be transported through, and landed within, Cockburn and Warnbro Sound.”

Mr Donohue said pink snapper was also one of the species that could not be taken, during the annual demersal fishing closure for the West Coast Bioregion, which would be in place from Saturday 15 October and continue up to and including Thursday 15 December.

“Recreational fishers should be congratulated for abiding by the closure during past years and demonstrating responsibility and stewardship for this very important fishery,” he said.

“It will take time for West Coast demersal scalefish to fully recover, given that species like dhufish and pink snapper are slow-growing and can live to nearly 40 years of age.”

Information about the full list of fish species, which are subject to the demersal closure, is available on the Department of Fisheries website at www.fish.wa.gov.au or from departmental offices. Look for the Recreational Fishing Guide – West Coast Region.