West Coast Demersal Fishery Now Closed To Recreational Fishers

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15th October 2010, 09:00am - Views: 908


Media Release
15 October 2010 38/2010

West Coast demersal fishery now closed to rec-fishers

Recreational fishers are reminded that the West Coast Bioregion (Kalbarri to Augusta) has now
closed to recreational fishing for demersal (bottom dwelling) scalefish species.

This closure will remain in place from today (15 October) to 15 December 2010 inclusive.

The fishing closure applies to a suite of "high-risk" demersal species, including dhufish, pink
snapper and baldchin groper, as part of a range of management measures to cut the recreational
catch by 50% following independent research that showed these species were being overfished.

Department of Fisheries spokesperson Nathan Harrison said a recent survey showed the
management measures were helping to significantly reduce catch levels.

"The survey results indicate the retained catch by the recreational sector was on-track to
achieving the necessary 50% reduction, however, it is vital that the current rules remain in place
to ensure the ongoing recovery of these highly prized fish stocks," Mr Harrison said.

"Fishers in the commercial sector have already cut their catches by 50 per cent and reducing
recreational catches is a vital step, in the long-term recovery plan for the fishery. It will take time
for the fishery to fully recover, given that species like dhufish and pink snapper are slow growing
and can live to nearly 40 years of age.

"For these reasons the rules that were introduced last year, including the seasonal closure that
prohibits the take of all species which are typically caught in the fishery, will remain in place for
the next two years before they are reviewed."

Mr Harrison said Fisheries and Marine Officers would be focussing on the demersal species
fishing closure in the West Coast Bioregion and applying stiff penalties to any recreational
fishers who ignored it.

"Fishers who ignore the recreational closure and are caught with demersal scalefish in their
possession will have those fish seized and they could be prosecuted and fined up to $5,000, plus
mandatory penalties of ten times the value of the catch," he said.

"Even if the fisher has no high-risk demersal species in their possession and they are found
fishing for these species, from 15 October and 15 December, they could still face a minimum
fine of $400 for an infringement notice."

A full list of the species, which 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.

MEDIA CONTACT:


Ashley Malone Ph: 9203 0357
Principal Media Liaison Officer Mobile: 0418 901 767



Report all suspected illegal fishing activity to FISHWATCH 1800 815 507



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