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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 18 November 2021

West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource

​The 2021 stock assessment for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource (WCDSR) is now available.

This resource is halfway through a 20-year recovery plan following a period of overfishing in the 1990s and 2000s. The recovery plan focusses on managing each sector’s catches below catch limits and protecting key spawning aggregations to recover the WCDSR by 2030. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) undertakes periodic scientific stock assessments to monitor this recovery. These include measuring catches and catch rate trends over time, as well as sampling fish to gain important biological information such as age.

The 2021 stock assessment is an important “health check” at the halfway point in the recovery plan. The science shows that, while management arrangements have been successful at preventing further stock decline, adjustments to current management arrangements are required to ensure adequate recovery of the WCDSR, including dhufish and pink snapper. Although a few good years of recruitment has enhanced population replenishment, not enough fish from these years are surviving long enough to reproduce and contribute to future stock recovery. This means that not enough older dhufish and pink snapper are present in the population, making it unlikely to recover by 2030.

Further management action is now required to get the recovery back on track.

A stakeholder-based reference group, with membership from DPIRD, Recfishwest and the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), will review the 2021 stock assessment against the Harvest Strategy to determine an appropriate management response for further consultation and consideration by Government.

For more information, read the media release, the Fisheries Science Update or comprehensive FAQ.

Last modified: 18/11/2021 4:15 PM

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