Recreational fishers are being encouraged to work with peak industry body Recfishwest to develop new measures to help boost the recovery of demersal scalefish stocks between Kalbarri and Augusta.
The State Government has called on all sectors to work together on how to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in the total catch limit for the West Coast Demersal species, including fishing favourites and indicator species dhufish and pink snapper.
The decision to reduce the total catch limit to 375 tonnes followed the latest scientific stock assessment which showed the resource was not recovering fast enough in line with the 2010-2030 recovery plan.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is working closely with Recfishwest, the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Marine Tourism WA to develop new measures to protect the sustainability of the resource.
From today until April 29, an industry-led consultation process will see Recfishwest consult with recreational fishers to seek a broad range of ideas and views on how to manage the reduced total catch limit and help the stock recover.
During this time, Recfishwest will also be engaging an expert working group with charter, tackle industry and fishing club representatives to provide input, consider recreational sector feedback and work with DPRID to investigate preferred management arrangements.
DPIRD is also continuing to work with WAFIC and Marine Tourism WA on proposed changes for the commercial and charter sectors.
Following consideration of feedback and proposed management options from Recfishwest, WAFIC and Marine Tourism WA, DPIRD will release a proposed management package for recreational, charter and commercial sectors to achieve the reduced fish mortality and catch limits for broader community consultation mid-year.
Following consideration of the outcomes of consultation, the final management packages to support the recovery of demersal stocks by 2030 will then be provided to Government for consideration and approval.
Management changes are expected to be implemented over the summer of 2022/23.
Recreational fishers can have their say by visiting https://recfishwest.org.au/west-coast-demersal-consultation.
For more information on the consultation process visit the DPIRD website here.
As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:
“All fishers must play a key role in the recovery of demersal stocks to sustainable levels to ensure these incredible fish are not lost to future generations.
“It is so important that recreational, commercial and charter fishers work with their industry organisations and DPIRD to develop new options on how to best support the recovery of our prized demersal fish stocks.
“In particular, as part of this initial industry-led consultation phase, Recfishwest needs to hear from recreational fishers on their views and ideas to help shape the management options for the wider public consultation process.
“I strongly encourage all Recfishers to get involved and have their say on the management of this important resource.”