The reel deal

For most West Aussie Anglers, landing that almighty Dhufish is the ultimate prize, but for now that hunt will have to wait.

When the weather starts to warm up and the conditions are right, heading out onto the open ocean to wet a line is a popular hobby for many coastal dwellers.

Taking a break on demersal fish.
Taking a break on demersal fish. Picture: Philippa Schmucker.

However until 15 December, recreational fishers are not allowed to take or land any demersal finfish within the West Coast Bioregion, between Kalbarri and Augusta.

This annual closure of the recreational demersal fishery between October and December is part of a package of measures aimed at ensuring that the fishery is managed sustainably.

“Research showed that demersal scale fish on the west coast were being overfished and that the total catch needed to be reduced to allow for various species to rebuild stock levels” Dr Lindsay Joll, Director, Aquatic Management, Department of Fisheries said.

According to Dr Joll, “available data indicates that stocks of dhufish and pink snapper are showing signs of recovery but baldchin groper stocks are still under stress. Given demersal species’ slow growth and reproduction rates, it is likely that full recovery will to take around 20 years,”

When the fishery re-opens in mid-December, recreational fishers are encouraged to contribute to the Department’s ‘Send Us Your Skeletons’ program.

You can do your bit for fisheries science by donating your unwanted fish skeletons to the department. The fish ear bones (otoliths) are extracted from the skeletons and used to build a database on the age structure of fish stocks – which is a key indicator for fishery management.

Be sure to check out the website below on information on target species and advice.

And remember, by following the recreational fishing rules – you will be doing your bit to ensure that our recreational fisheries are managed sustainably into the future.

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