WA snapper ban starts on Thursday

WA fishos are reminded that the annual four month snapper ban in the Sounds applies from Thursday, October 1

WA anglers are reminded that the annual closure to pink snapper-fishing, in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds, will begin as normal on October, 1, 2009.

Department of Fisheries’ principal management officer Nathan Harrison said the annual four-month closure, which protects spawning stocks in the Sounds, was independent of the new two-month fishing restrictions that would apply for all demersal species in the West Coast bioregion from mid-October.

"Pink snapper that enter the Sounds to spawn are the "life blood" of the fishery and adequate protection must be provided for these breeding fish," said Harrison.

"Fishing for pink snapper is not allowed in Cockburn or Warnbro Sounds between October 1 and January 31 each year, which recognises the vital role these spawning grounds play in supporting this species," he said.

"Research tagging work has shown pink snapper will travel considerable distances to join the spawning aggregation and the Sounds are the most important known spawning grounds for pink snapper in the West Coast bioregion, which extends from near Kalbarri to near Augusta."

Harrison said the new two-month bioregion-wide restriction for recreational fishers on taking pink snapper, dhufish, baldchin groper and a range of other "high risk" species in the West Coast bioregion demersal scalefish list, would also apply from October 15 to December 15 each year.

"New bag limits for "high risk" fish will come into effect on December 16 when the demersal fishery reopens," said Harrison. "A full list of the new bag limits will be available soon on the Department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

"80 per cent of the State’s recreational fishing effort is focussed on the West Coast bioregion, so that’s why rec-fishers are being asked to play their part in reducing the take of the "at risk" species by at least half.

"The commercial fishing effort in the West Coast demersal scalefish fishery has already been cut by more than 50 per cent and there is a metropolitan fishing zone that permanently excludes most commercial fishing operations," added Harrison.

"It’s now time for recreational fishers to play their part and support the new fishing arrangements, in the interest of keeping Western Australia’s fisheries sustainable and ensuring there will be fish for future generations."

Visit www.fish.wa.gov.au for more information.


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