Recreational and commercial fishing sectors target pink snapper. We manage both together to help ensure long-term sustainability of the species.
We manage recreational fishing through size and bag limits, possession limits, gear controls and closed seasons.
Due to depleted stocks in Shark Bay’s Freycinet Estuary, we’ve introduced an annual tag lottery system allowing recreational fishers to catch pink snapper. Some tags are distributed to commercial beach net fishers who may take pink snapper as bycatch. (In Shark Bay, there are three separate pink snapper stocks in the inner gulfs plus a separate oceanic population.)
We manage the charter sector by limiting the number of licences and stipulating activities allowed.
The State’s biggest commercial pink snapper fishery is the Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery, which mainly operates in ocean waters off Shark Bay.
We manage it by limiting entry, gear controls and individual quotas that limit the total allowable commercial catch (TACC), which has been cut (from 563 tonnes in 2004 to 277 tonnes), in response to concerns about stock levels. Assessments show the adult population of oceanic pink snapper is recovering.
The second biggest is the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Interim Managed Fishery, which covers an area from south of Shark Bay to east of Augusta. Access is restricted to permit holders.
In recent years, concerns about overfishing of demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish in the West Coast Bioregion (from near Augusta to north of Kalbarri) led to new management measures. These include an annual two-month closed season for recreational fishing for demersal fish in the region. The daily bag limit was also reduced.
A closure to commercial line and demersal gillnet and longline fishing from Lancelin to Mandurah was implemented.
The main goal is to keep recreational and commercial catches of demersal scalefish and of ‘indicator species’ at below 50 per cent of the 2005/06 catch in the region.
(Pink snapper is an indicator species in the West Coast and Gascoyne Coast bioregions - its stock status is used to indicate the status of all inshore demersal fish in those regions.)
Pink snapper catch (two biggest fisheries)
|Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Fishery
|West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery
Research and monitoring
We monitor catch and ‘effort’ (the amount of fishing) data through commercial vessel logbooks and charter vessel returns.
Up-to-date recreational boat fishing data will be available at the end of 2012 from a Statewide survey.
Research is now focused on monitoring the stock status of indicator species through the following projects:
The Western Australian Marine Science Institute (WAMSI) has been investigating relationships between pink snapper stocks from Shark Bay to South Australia. Results will be available later in 2012.
In the West Coast Bioregion, fish frames of indicator species are collected and used to determine age compositions for stocks in each area of the region, from which estimates of fishing mortality are calculated.
A WAMSI project has been investigating the age composition of stocks of demersal fish – plus oceanographic influences on the dispersal of eggs and larvae in the West Coast Bioregion.
An acoustic tagging project to investigate ‘site-fidelity’ of pink snapper to Cockburn Sound spawning aggregations began in 2009. Data collected by receivers until 2013 will be used to assess the risks of targeting snapper in that area.
Surveys of pink snapper egg numbers in Cockburn Sound in 2010 were used to estimate spawning stock levels. Results will be available as part of the 2012 stock assessment.