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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Seasonal closures

​Seasonal closures provide additional protection for fish species that are vulnerable during times when they aggregate (group together) to reproduce. Large-scale seasonal closures are also used to reduce the total time spent fishing (referred to as ‘fishing effort’) and therefore the total number of fish captured. In the West Coast Bioregion the following seasonal closures apply.

West Coast demersal finfish
closed season 15 October – 15 December (inclusive)

The take or landing of demersal finfish is prohibited within the West Coast Bioregion during this period. If you catch a demersal finfish from a boat or from shore in this area during the closed season you must return it the water as soon as possible. A comprehensive list of demersal species affected by the closure is available here.

Unlike the Cockburn Sound pink snapper closure and the Abrolhos Island baldchin groper closure, which are designed to protect aggregations of spawning fish, the demersal finfish closure is one of several management measures to reduce the recreational catch in this area by at least 50 per cent. This reduction was required following independently reviewed research that showed demersal species, like dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, were being overfished.

The closure is aimed at protecting all demersal species caught in the West Coast Bioregion – whether they are caught frequently or only occasionally. It is an important measure in assisting with their recovery.

Fishers, therefore, must not fish for demersal finfish in the West Coast Bioregion during the closure to ensure its effectiveness. If you catch a demersal finfish from a boat or from shore in this area during the closed season you must return it to the water immediately.

There are many other sustainable fishing options to try out at this time of year such as fishing for squid and whiting – see Recfishwest’s website for more details.


Pink snapper


Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds: Closed season 1 October – 31 January (inclusive).

Cockburn Sound is the site of the largest know aggregations of pink snapper in the West Coast Bioregion and is critical for sustaining adequate breeding stocks of these long-lived and slow-growing fish.

It is illegal to be in possession of pink snapper while fishing in the waters of Cockburn and Warnbro sounds during the closed season. However, pink snapper taken outside the sounds may be transported through, and immediately landed within, the area during the closed season.


Baldchin groper

Abrolhos Islands: Closed season 1 November – 31 January (inclusive).

Taking, landing or possessing baldchin groper is prohibited within the Abrolhos Islands Fish Habitat Protection Area during the closed season. Baldchin groper is a species unique to WA. These fish aggregate in shallow waters in the Abrolhos area to spawn as the water temperature rises.

Blue swimmer crabs 

Peel-Harvey Estuary: Closed season 1 September – 31 October (inclusive).

The Peel Inlet, including the channel entrance, Harvey Estuary and Dawesville Cut and all man-made waterways are closed to all crab fishing during this period.

The closure protects crab breeding stocks, and allows female crabs to spawn before the fishery reopens.

Cockburn Sound: Closed to crab fishing – see Cockburn Sound map below.

The Cockburn Sound crab fishery is closed to protect the blue swimmer crab breeding stock.

This closure is an important measure required for the recovery of the crab stock after research showed a significant decline in the number of crabs in Cockburn Sound due to environmental and biological factors. 


Last modified: 12/10/2018 5:12 PM

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