Anglers face six-month dhufish and red snapper fishing ban
The body that represents 750,000 anglers in Western Australia has expressed its ‘deepest disappointment’ over the decision of its fisheries minister to ban fishing for dhufish and red snapper for six months.
Fishing World Australia is reporting that Recfishwest describes the ban as ‘completely unnecessary’.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said: “Our sector has a strong-track record in putting the fish first and we agree there needs to be some changes to help stocks continue to rebuild.
“We presented clear, science-backed alternative proposals to Government which would have reduced recfishers’ catches by 50 per cent, met sustainability targets and allowed people the freedom to spend more time fishing with families and friends.
“Yet the Minister has decided on extended bans for the recreational fishing sector and has put commercial profit over the public good with the lion’s share of this fishery given to a small number of commercial operators.
“The announcement restricts recreational fishers to an annual catch of 115t, a reduction of more than 50% on current catches, while commercial operators will be able to catch 240t, a reduction of only 12% on current catches.”
Recfishwest’s proposals were developed during months of consultation with the recreational fishing community and a specially convened West Coast Demersal Expert Working Group. One of these proposals aimed at speeding up the rebuilding of demersal fish stocks included a closure during the dhufish spawning period.
“The fact that this closure will not apply to the commercial fishing industry does not reflect best practice fisheries management,” said Dr Rowland. “Recfishwest also called for a buy-back of commercial fishing licences and welcomes this element of the Minister’s package.”
Western Australia’s Fisheries Minister, Don Punch, claims the changes being introduced balance the fishing experience with the action needed to protect these fish. “There is simply no other way,” said Punch.
“I understand the changes will be difficult for recreational fishers. I appreciate the feedback I have received and I say to you that I have delivered the very best recreational package possible while also ensuring that you have sustainable fish stocks going forward,” said Punch.
• Story and picture Fishing World Australia