Applications for the 2013 tag lottery are now closed.
The annual tag lottery is open again for recreational fishers who want to catch pink snapper in Shark Bay’s Freycinet Estuary in 2013.
Applications for the lottery open on Monday, 15 October 2012, and close at 4 pm on Monday, 12 November, 2012.
Only fishers with a tag are allowed to catch a pink snapper in Freycinet Estuary, Shark Bay’s inner western gulf.
A random number generator is used to select who will receive tags, which cost $10 each.
Pink snapper is sought-after by recreational fishers for its delicious taste and impressive size – some can grow up to a metre long and weigh up to 10 kg.
The tag lottery is in place for a good reason – sustainability.
About 10 years ago, scientists discovered that the pink snapper population in Freycinet Estuary was different from those in nearby Denham Sound and the Eastern Gulf and from stocks in the open ocean.
They found that Freycinet Estuary’s pink snapper population was severely depleted and could collapse if the catch was not restricted.
There were already daily bag and size limits for pink snapper caught by recreational fishers, but to help limit the total catch, the Department of Fisheries introduced the lottery system.
The goal was to ensure the long-term sustainability of stocks while still giving a limited number of people the chance to catch a pink snapper in Freycinet Estuary.
Fishers with a tag who catch a legal size pink snapper must attach the tag to it immediately. Those without a tag must release any pink snapper caught straight away.
In a few years, when the pink snapper population has recovered, the need for a tag system will be reviewed.
In 2013, 1,050 tags will be allocated to recreational fishers through the lottery and 350 tags will be distributed to commercial fishers.
Only one lottery application per person is allowed. But successful applicants can buy up to two tags, allowing them to catch two pink snapper in Freycinet Estuary in the 2013 calendar year.
The daily bag limit per person for pink snapper in Freycinet Estuary is one, so if a fisher has two tags, they must take their two pink snapper on two different days. This could change so check this website for updates.
The tags can’t be transferred – only the person issued with the tag is entitled to fish for pink snapper and use the tag.
All lottery applicants, successful or not, will be contacted by post in mid-November.