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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 20 November 2015

Simpler rules for snapper fishing in Shark Bay

  • ​Pink snapper recovery a result of good management and research
  • Community support has been vital to the rebuilding of Shark Bay snapper stocks
  • New management arrangements allow more recreational fishers to participate 

Latest State Government research advice indicates that pink snapper stocks in Shark Bay's inner gulfs have recovered to above target levels. 

Welcoming the news, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said it was now timely to relax the pink snapper fishing rules in the Eastern Gulf, Denham Sound and Freycinet Estuary.

"On the back of this success, I am pleased to confirm that we have removed the restrictive tag lottery system for pink snapper fishing in the Freycinet Estuary," Mr Baston said. 

"To simplify the fishing rules further, the maximum size limit will be removed across the inner gulfs, enabling fishers to catch a 'trophy' pink snapper."

The Minister said Freycinet Estuary was the last area to fully recover and a conservative approach to management was still needed to ensure an ongoing success story for this slow-growing, long-lived and popular fish species.

To ensure the Freycinet Estuary stock remains sustainable, a new possession limit of five kilograms of fillets, or one day's bag limit of whole fish, applies from January 1, 2016.  This limit replaces the catch tag system, allowing more fishers to participate, but this estuary will still be managed as a low take area.

Mr Baston said recovery of the pink snapper stocks was based on the Department of Fisheries' sound long-term management strategies, with support from Recfishwest, the local community and stakeholders.

"The recovery project began in 1998 and it has taken time for the stocks across all of Shark Bay's inner gulfs to reach this successful milestone," he said.

Fact File

  • The annual spawning closures will remain for Eastern Gulf and Freycinet Estuary
  • For more information about the pink snapper recovery, visit
  • Fishers encouraged to participate in Send Us Your Skeletons program that forms the basis of the local stock assessment research work

Minister's office - 6552 5400

Last modified: 20/11/2015 9:29 AM

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