- Demersal fishing reopens for three months under new rules in time for Easter
- New bag, boat and size limit rules will help ensure the fishery is sustainable
- McGowan Government is supporting coastal communities and businesses by permitting recreational demersal fishing in all school holidays
Recreational fishing for popular demersal scalefish including pink snapper, dhufish and baldchin groper will reopen under new rules on 1 April in time for Easter and the school holidays.
Recreational fishers will be able to fish for demersal species between Kalbarri and Augusta for the next three months until 31 July.
In late 2022, the McGowan Government announced new measures for the recreational, commercial and charter sectors to half the total allowable catch of demersals to help stocks of these popular species recover.
The decision to permit recreational fishing for demersals during all school holiday periods is in place to support regional communities and businesses when people are most likely to visit and fish.
An extensive education and awareness campaign is underway in Western Australia to make sure fishers know and understand the new rules.
Under the new recreational rules for the West Coast Bioregion, there is a boat limit of four demersal scalefish per boat, gear restrictions and the removal of size limits for WA dhufish, baldchin groper and breaksea cod which have high post-release mortality rates.
Land-based line fishing for demersal scalefish is permitted year-round with bag and size limits applying.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will be monitoring the impact of the management changes on catches and stock levels to achieve recovery by the 2030 target.
To further boost sustainability, the McGowan Government is also investing $10 million into initiatives including expanding the juvenile pink snapper stocking program and extending the popular Fish Aggregating Device program to provide more alternative fishing experiences along our coastline.
Further information on the new rules can be found at wa.gov.au/demersalrecovery or in the updated recreational fishing guide.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“It has been great to see recfishers taking the opportunity to ‘switch their fish’ and give demersals a break to help stocks recover.
“The McGowan Government made a commitment to allow recreational fishing for demersal scalefish during all school holidays to strike a balance with stock recovery and providing more time on the water for fishers.
“We also know how important recreational fishing is to boost regional economies in coastal communities which rely on visitors during these popular times.
“The Easter holidays is the first time recfishers will be out fishing under the new rules and should check the updated recreational fishing guide before heading out.”