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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 6 December 2022

Management changes for West Coast demersal announced

Following extensive community and industry consultation new management changes will be introduced to boost the recovery of demersal scalefish stocks from Kalbarri to Augusta. 

The current two-month demersal closure will be extended by four months for recreational fishers in the West Coast Bioregion from Kalbarri to Augusta.  

The closure period has been significantly reduced from the initial eight or nine-month proposal, following consultation with recreational fishers. 

The open seasons have been timed to allow people to catch these prized fish during all school holiday periods. Land-based demersal fishing will now be able to take place year-round.

Catching demersal scalefish from a boat will be prohibited from:

  • 1 February to 31 March (inclusive) 
  • 1 August to the beginning of the September / October school holidays;
  • And end of the September / October school holidays to 15 December (inclusive)

Recreational fishers can continue to catch non-demersal scalefish species during the closed periods. 

The commercial sector will have its available fishing hours in the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery (line fishery) reduced to achieve a 50 per cent cut in total allowable catch.

For charter operators, a quota system (tags) will be introduced with specific limits on the number of demersal scalefish that can be kept each year.

Recovery will be supported by a range of new measures, including a boat limit of four demersal scalefish per vessel for recreational fishers, expanded spawning protections and gear limits. 

The McGowan Government is investing $10 million to support the recovery of demersal stocks. The funding will contribute to education, management, monitoring and research programs.

It is important to understand the current rules will remain in place when recreational fishing for demersal scalefish in the West Coast Bioregion reopens on 16 December. New rules will come into effect for recreational fishers from 1 February 2023.

Changes for commercial and charter fishers will align with licence renewal periods. Changes for the commercial sector will come into effect on 1 January 2023 and for the charter sector 1 July 2023.

For more details, read the media release​, dedicated demersal webpage or management changes summary​

Last modified: 6/12/2022 1:22 PM

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