There has been a commercial Australian herring fishing industry in Western Australia for more than 50 years.
In WA, 80-90 per cent of the commercial landings of Australian herring are taken in the South Coast Bioregion (from Black Point, east of Augusta, to the WA/SA border) with the remaining 10-20 per cent taken in the West Coast Bioregion (from Black Point to the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri).
Traditionally, most commercial landings on the South Coast have been taken by the herring trap net fishery, with the catch sold mainly for bait for the rock lobster fishing industry or pet food. In WA, commercial herring landings peaked at more than 1,500 tonnes in 1991. In 2011, WA landings reached an historical low of 147 tonnes, following a national trend.
Low catches in recent years have been due to the combined effects of low fish availability in the South Coast Bioregion due to ongoing low recruitment and reduced fishing effort in response to weak market demand.
There are a number of management measures in place designed to maintain catch within a target catch range. The South Coast commercial herring catch has now been below the target range for 10 consecutive years.
Australian herring commercial catch 2012
|South Coast Bioregion
|West Coast Bioregion
|| 28 tonnes|