New WA possession limits aim to balance demersal fish stock scales
New possession limits are among changes to WA recreational fishing rules which will come into effect from next month.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has worked closely with Recfishwest to introduce changes from July 1 to help preserve the State’s valuable groundfish stocks for future generations.
In some cases there are rules that apply to specific biological regions, such as the West Coast bioregion, which runs from east of Augusta at Black Point to north of Kalbarri at the Zuytdorp Cliffs and includes the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, where demersal finfish have a total mixed bag limit of two fish.
The changes have been introduced to address community concerns about increased recreational fishing across the State as more people “wander out yonder” and to provide greater protection to WA’s demersal fish species, while ensuring recreational fishers are able to continue to enjoy quality fishing experiences into the future.
DPIRD offshore finfish manager Clinton Syers said demersal scalefish were typically long-living and slow-growing, making them highly vulnerable to increased fishing pressure, particularly near popular tourist centres.
“The changes to the rules are aimed at providing increased protection for demersal scalefish, and encouraging fishers to target other less vulnerable species,” he said.
“The main change relates to possession limits for finfish fillets.”
Mr Syers said under the revised rules, within the possession limit of 20kg of finfish fillets while on a fishing trip, any fillets exceeding 10kg must now only be from large pelagic species such as mackerel, tuna and shark, with skin attached.
“At this time charter tours are exempt from the trip limit rule change,” he said.
Other rule changes include the removal of the 30cm minimum fillet length for fish filleted at sea, but any fillets must still have the skin attached for species identification purposes.
The rule changes will be reviewed after 12 months.
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