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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
An undersize tailor being held gently by a fisher
Undersize fish like this juvenile tailor cannot be used as bait and must be immediately returned to the water.
Friday 2 March 2018

Know your size limits

​All fish measuring less than the minimum size limit cannot be used for bait and must be immediately released to the water with the least possible injury.

Most recreational fishers are aware of the different minimum size limits that apply to a variety of fish species in WA and stick to them. But some fishers remain unaware that, as undersize fish are totally protected, they must be returned to the water immediately if caught, ruling them out as an option for bait.

For example, tailor is a popular bait for mulloway, but if you catch an undersize tailor, you cannot use it for bait either filleted or as a livebait. Similarly, you cannot use undersize silver trevally (skippy) to target Samson fish or any other species.

Even if a fish dies as a result of being caught, if is undersize it still must be immediately returned to the water.

To give any fish you are returning the best chance of survival, handle them gently with a wet cloth or wet hands when removing the hook and place them carefully back in the water giving them a moment or two to get oxygen going through their gills before releasing them. If they are deep-hooked, rather than trying to remove the hook, cut the line just above where it enters the fish’s mouth.

By returning an undersize fish to the water in good health today, it could be a prize catch for you, or for someone else in the future as well as giving the fish the opportunity to reproduce before it’s taken out of the fishery.

If you do see people using undersize or otherwise protected fish as bait, or involved in any other suspected illegal fishing activity, please report it to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules.
You can also download our Recreational fishing guide in booklet size or the A4 print-friendly version. 

Last modified: 6/03/2018 11:54 AM

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