skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Herring management

Australian herring is targeted by recreational and commercial fishers and we manage both sectors together to ensure the sustainability of the species.

Herring is a ‘bread and butter’ species to recreational fishers and is most commonly caught from shore or small boats. Recreational fishing is mainly managed through bag and possession limits.

We manage commercial fishing for herring through limited entry, gear restrictions and seasonal, time and area closures. Over time various Voluntary Fisheries Adjustment schemes, under which the State Government buys back fishing licences, have reduced the number of commercial fishers.

Herring is managed to a target catch range, which is based on recent annual catches and also takes into account natural variations in recruitment to the fished stock. Each year, as part of reviewing the state of the herring stock, the actual catch is compared to the target catch.

Recent scientific evidence has clearly shown that stronger management measures are needed. A rigorous stock assessment published in 2013 showed that through a combination of environmental factors and fishing the WA herring stock is under pressure and needs to improve.

Australian herring status 2013
​Location Stock level Fishing level
​South Coast Inadequate​
​West Coast Inadequate​ Unacceptable
Given that the environmental factors are outside of our control, fishing effort and catch need to be reduced to ease pressure on the stock and assist in its recovery.
A daily bag limit of 12 for recreational fishers and closure of the commercial South Coast G-net Fishery came into force on 1 March 2015 to ease fishing pressure on Australian herring and help the stock recovery of this important species.

Last modified: 3/03/2015 4:17 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at