A public briefing will be held in Busselton, next Wednesday (17 October), at which research and reasons will be presented on why a new approach is needed to manage recreational fishing for ‘at risk’ offshore species, to ensure their long-term sustainability
Fisheries scientists and managers will present new research that has revealed WA’s key demersal scalefish, like dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, are being overfished in the West Coast Bioregion – from just north of Kalbarri to Black Point east of Augusta.
Department of Fisheries South West Bioregion Manager Ian Curnow said the number of older fish in dhufish and snapper populations (both long-lived species) had fallen and low recruitment, during the last decade, had led to fewer juveniles entering the fishery.
“In developing a new approach, we have to consider all options and we are hoping fishers will come up with new ideas in the public consultation period and submit their suggestions or nominate the management measures they would favour in order to ensure protection of these key species into the future,” Mr Curnow said.
“No decisions on the long term management strategies to ensure sustainability of the ‘at risk’ species will be made by Fisheries Minister Jon Ford, until he has had the opportunity to review the submissions from fishers and the general public.
“Following this, another discussion paper will be released early next year detailing specific proposals for the way forward and providing further opportunity for community comment.”
Mr Curnow said it was important to note that options raised for consideration in Fisheries Management Paper No.225 – Managing the recreational catch of demersal scalefish on the West Coast were only related to the species at risk – so they would not impact on beach fishing or inshore species.
“Recreational fishers and members of the community are invited to next week’s public briefing to personally hear from the Fisheries scientists and managers. If people can’t make it to the meeting, they can read about the sustainability issues in the management paper, available on the Department’s website, or they can phone 9482 7333 for a copy to be posted out,” he said.
“A detailed research report and other information on the ‘at risk’ species, plus details of how to make a submission, are also available online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.