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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 commercial fishing licences, have reduced the number of commercial operators.

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

2015-2021 management measures

A rigorous stock assessment published in 2013 showed that through a combination of environmental factors and fishing the WA herring stock was under pressure, and needed to be protected in order for stocks to return to sustainable levels.

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, and help the stock recovery of this important species.

The 2021 Australian herring resource stock assessment indicated that the management actions taken had been successful and that the stock had recovered. The recovery of the Australian herring resource provides an opportunity to take a contemporary approach to management, which will allow for optimal use and maximise community benefit from the resource.

These new measures have yet to be determined, and in the short-term current management arrangements will remain in place. What is known at this stage is that future arrangements will be based on the herring resource as a whole. This means a management approach that considers the ecosystem in addition to the impacts and needs of all fishing sectors, to ensure that what is taken does not exceed what is sustainable.

Read the 2022 science update​ about Australian herring.




Last modified: 13/06/2022 9:13 AM

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