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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Major commercial fisheries

West Coast Bioregion

Breeding ​stock assessment​ Target catch   (tonnes) Catch (tonnes) 2013/14 or 2014
Catch (or effort) level

West coast rock lobster

5,859 (quota)
A total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 5,859 t was set for the 2014 season. The total landings were slightly greater than the TACC due to a water loss adjustment. Due to the conservative nature of the TACC, egg production is at record high levels.

Roe's abalone​ ​


87 (quota)


Catch was less than the quota in Area 2 (62% caught), Area 5 (21% caught), Area 6 (10% caught) due to economic reasons (low value of catch) and high cost of accessing these areas. Area 8 fishery still closed due to catastrophic mortality by marine heat wave.

Octopus ​ ​

​50-250 204
Fishery in development phase. Target range to be reviewed following completion of initial assessments.

Abrolhos Islands and Mid-West trawl​

Inadequate primarily due to environmental conditions
(set to 0 for this year)
0 N/A.
The fishery was not opened due to annual survey indicating low scallop abundance with a catch prediction below the target level for fishing. This has resulted from continued effects of low recruitment due to the extreme environmental conditions of early 2011. The low recruitment has resulted in a very low spawning stock despite no fishing activity.

Cockburn Sound crab​

Inadequate primarily due to environmental conditions

Under revision ​25 N/A.
Stock levels continued to decline during the 2013/14 season with females dominating the catch earlier than usual in March and April with catch rates around 0.5 kg/traplift. The 2013/14 egg production index was below the limit and the juvenile index for 2014 was also below the limit, so the fishery was closed to commercial and recreational fishing in April and May, respectively, 2014.

Estuarine finfish (west coast)​ ​ ​
No assessment ​75 – 220 (Peel-Harvey only) ​130 (Peel-Harvey only) Acceptable.
Catches of west coast estuarine finfish have been stable since 2000.
​West coast beach bait and south west beach seine ​ ​ ​
Inadequate primarily due to environmental conditions
​60 – 275 (whitebait only) 12 (whitebait only)​ Not acceptable.
Annual whitebait catch fluctuates in response to environmental variations. Catch decline follows recent years of exceptionally warm ocean temperatures. Catch is significantly below acceptable range in 2013/14, following a similarly low catch in 2012/13. Management intervention may be required.
​​West coast purse seine ​ ​ ​
Adequate ​0 – 3,000 (quota) ​1,065 (scaly mackerel and pilchard combined) Acceptable.
Increase in catch due to increase in effort, current levels are highest reported since mid-2000s. Catch reported includes catches from the managed fishery and the northern and southern developmental zones.
West coast demersal scalefish​
Recovering <450 (demersal suite)​​ 395 Not acceptable.
The total catch of the demersal suite by all commercial fisheries was within acceptable levels. Temperate Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fisheries catches of demersal species were too high. West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery catches of snapper in the Mid- west and Kalbarri areas were too high. Management action has been taken.

South Coast Bioregion

Breeding stock assessment​ Target catch (tonnes) Catch (tonnes) 2013/14 or 2014 Catch (or effort) level

South coast crustacean

Adequate 50 – 80 (southern rock lobster) ​46 (southern rock lobster)
While catch was below the target range for southern rock lobster, there was a coincidental decline in targeted effort. The standardised catch rate for southern rock lobsters remains within its target region. Catch and catch rates of deep sea crabs (secondary target species) is currently being assessed.

Abalone​ ​(greenlip/brownlip)

Adequate​ ​201.5 (quota)


Not acceptable.
Effort range (in days) exceeded due to lower abundance. Total allowable catch reduced by 30% in the Area 2 fishery and 10% in the Area 3 fishery for 2015. 

Estuarine finfish (south coast) ​ ​

Adequate 200 – 500​ 190 (finfish)
39 (crab)
Stock levels of key species are considered adequate. Crabs have replaced some finfish catches in recent years.

WA salmon

Adequate ​​1,200 - 2,800 364 Acceptable.
Recent catches continue to be low relative to historic levels, due to low effort from limited market demand. A review of the target catch range needs to be undertaken.

Australian herring*

Inadequate due to overfishing or other events Under revision 151
Formal stock assessment completed in late 2012. Historically low commercial catch reflects poor recent recruitment and low stock abundance. The acceptable catch range is under revision.

Albany/King George Sound purse seine​

Adequate 2,683 (quota)​ 885
Effort and catches both lower than in 2012/13.​
Bremer Bay purse seine​​
Adequate ​1,500 (quota) Not reportable - less than three licences operated Acceptable.
Effort and catches both slightly higher than in 2012/13.
​Esperance purse seine​ ​ ​
Adequate ​1,500 (quota) Not reportable - less than three licences operated Acceptable.
Effort and catches both slightly lower than in 2012/13.
​​Southern and West Coast demersal gillnet and longline
Gummy and whiskery sharks: adequate

Dusky and
sandbarsharks: recovering

725 – 1,095 (key species only) 841 (key species only)​ Acceptable.
Total catch within target range, similar to previous years and acceptable given effort levels. Dusky catch was slightly below its target range due to decline in effective effort. Catch rate similar to previous year. Whiskery catch has been maintained below their historical target range due to reductions in effort and the intended effects of the seasonal closure.
*Australian herring is a single fish stock that occurs across the West and South coast bioregions with differing levels of commercial and recreational fishing effort in these two areas. Australian herring commercial catch statistics are recorded in the South Coast Bioregion.

Gascoyne Coast Bioregion

Breeding stock assessment​ Target catch (tonnes​) Catch (tonnes) 2013/14 or 2014
Catch (or effort) level

Shark bay prawn

Adequate 1,350 – 2,150
Western king and brown tiger prawn annual landings were both within the target ranges.

​Exmouth Gulf prawn

Adequate​  ​771 - 1,276 463
Brown tiger prawns were well below the target catch range and western king prawns slightly below their target range. Endeavour prawn landings were also below the target catch range. The adjusted effort for 2014 was very low and was constrained to maintain the spawning stock within target levels.

​Shark Bay scallop

Inadequate primarily due to environmental conditions 1,250 – 3,000
(fishery closed this year)
The fishery did not open due to very low recruitment and stock abundance due to continued influence of the extreme environmental conditions from heat wave events. A recovery of the stock in Denham Sound has been observed while that in northern Shark Bay is still below the target levels despite no retention of scallops between 2012 and 2014.

Shark Bay crabs

Recovering 400 (quota) 371 (175 trap and 196 trawl) Acceptable.
Partial recovery of the stock during 2013 provided confidence to resume commercial fishing with a conservative total allowable commercial catch of 400
tonnes of which 93% was achieved. Ongoing stock monitoring surveys indicates increasing levels of recruitment and spawning biomass during 2014.

Shark Bay beach seine and mesh net

Adequate 235 – 335
Total catch remained below the target range due to a further reduction in effort (lowest on record) and low catches of sea mullet and tailor. Catches of whiting and yellowfin bream were above the 10-year average.

Gascoyne demersal scalefish (pink snapper​ only)

Adequate 277 (quota)

Spawning biomass is just below the target level; under current levels of catch, biomass will exceed the target level by the start of the 2016-17 season. Catch rate remains well above the threshold and maintained at highest levels since 1990s.
​West Coast deep sea crab

​140 (quota, crystal crabs)

​140 (crystal crab)
The effort is within the target effort range, with the standardised catch rate of legal crabs at one of the highest levels in a decade.

North Coast Bioregion

Breeding stock assessment​ Target catch (tonnes)​ Catch (tonnes) 2013/14 or 2014 Catch (or effort) level

Onslow prawn

Adequate 60 – 180 
Minimal fishing occured in 2014.​​

Nickol Bay prawn

Adequate​  ​90 - 300 211
The total annual landings of banana prawns were within the target catch range and slightly above the predicted range.

Broome prawn

Adequate 55 – 260 0
No commerical prawn fishng occured for this fishery in 2014.

Kimberley prawn

Adequate 240 – 500​​ 287 Acceptable.​
Banana prawns were within the catch prediction and the target range (230-350 t). Endeavour prawns were within the range and brown tiger prawns were slightly below. Overall effort continues to be lower than observed between 1990 and 2006.

Kimberley gillnet and barramundi

Adequate 33 – 45 (barramundi)
The catch of barramundi is within the target catch range and the catch rate is at the highest level since 1990.

Northern demersal scalefish

Adequate Under revision
1,111 (goldband 499, red emperor 132)
Total catch is above the upper limit across the fishery due to an increase in catch in Zone B. Catches of goldband snapper and red emperor were both within the acceptable catch range. Full assessments are in progress.
Pilbara fish trawl​​ ​ ​
Adequate ​Under revision

Reduced catch due to reductions in effort quota since 2009. Full assessment and review of catch range scheduled over the next 12 months.
​Pilbara demersal trap and line​ ​ ​
Adequate 400 – 600 (trap)
50 – 115 (line)​​
268 (trap)
40 (line)​
Trap and line catch were lower than the target catch ranges due to reduced effort in the fishery in 2014.
​Mackerel ​ ​ ​
Adequate​ 246 - 410 (quota, spanish mackerel) 322 Acceptable.
Catches higher than previous year and remain within the acceptable range for the fishery.
​Northern shark ​ ​ ​
No assessment

​< 20 (sandbar) 0 ​N/A.
There continued to be no fishing effort for this year.
​Pearl oyster ​ ​ ​
Adequate​ 754,800 oysters (quota) 627,634 oysters
Quota this year also included 75,000 large mother-of-pearl oysters. Only part of the Zone 1 quota (115,000 shell) was fished and some culture shell quota was not fished for economic reasons. Catch rate indices were above threshold levels.
Sea cucumber​​ ​ ​ ​
Adequate Sandfish 20 – 100
Redfish 40 – 150 ​
​Sandfish 40 Redfish 48
Black teatfish 5

Fishing recommenced in 2014 after a one year hiatus. New vessels fished the existing licences in 2014.​

Northern Inland Bioregion

Breeding stock assessment​ Target catch (tonnes)​ Catch (tonnes) 2013/14 or 2014
Catch (or effort) level

Lake Argyle catfish

Adequate 93 - 180
Not reportable - less than three licences operated
​The catch was below the target range due to the low effort in the fishery.​​


Last modified: 1/02/2016 3:24 PM

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