WA: West Coast demersal fishery closed to rec anglers
Anglers are reminded that the West Coast Region (Kalbarri to Augusta) is now closed to recreational fishing for demersal (bottom dwelling) scalefish species.
This seasonal closure will remain in place from 15 October to 15 December – inclusive.
The fishing closure applies to a broad suite of 'high-risk' demersal species, including dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, as part of a range of management measures to reduce the recreational catch by 50 per cent, following independent research that showed these species were being overfished.
South West Bioregions Manager Kevin Donohue said catch targets were being met by both commercial and recreational fishing sectors.
“The Department of Fisheries has been impressed with the level of compliance that recreational fishers have shown towards the demersal scalefish closure since its introduction in 2009,” he said.
“Support from recreational fishers has not gone unnoticed and we are grateful for their observation of the closure, which will ultimately lead to a recovery in our demersal scalefish stocks and ensure there are fish for the future.”
Mr Donohue said commercial fishers had cut their catches by 50 per cent, and reducing recreational catches was an important part of the long-term recovery plan for the fishery.
“Given species like dhufish and pink snapper grow very slowly and can live for up to 40 years, it takes a long time for the fishery to fully recover,” he said.
Fisheries and Marine Officers would focus on the demersal species fishing closure in the West Coast Bioregion and stiff penalties applied to perpetrators.
“Fishers who ignore the recreational closure and are caught with demersal scalefish in their possession will have those fish seized and could be prosecuted and fined up to $5,000, plus mandatory penalties of ten times the value of the catch,” Mr Donohue said.
“During the two month closure to the take of 'high risk' demersal species, recreational fishers can still target a number of other lower risk species such as herring, whiting and trevally.”
More information, including a full list of the species, which can and cannot be taken during the closure, can be found in the department’s Recreational Fishing Guide – West Coast Region. The guide is available online at www.fish.wa.gov.au or from Department of Fisheries' offices and information outlets.