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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource

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Recovery plan

A 20-year recovery plan for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource from Kalbarri to Augusta has been in place since 2010, after a period of overfishing in the early 2000s, to ensure there are stocks of these iconic fish for the future.

While current management arrangements have protected demersal stocks from declining any further, new measures are needed to boost the recovery effort and safeguard the sustainability of these important fish.

The recreational and commercial fishing sectors are working with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to develop new management options to get the recovery back on track.

The need for new measures follows the release of the latest scientific stock assessment of pink snapper and dhufish, two key demersal indicator species, and recovery milestones set in the W​est Co​ast Demersal Scalefish Harvest Strategy​​.

The stock assessment showed the rate of recovery is not fast enough to meet 2030 targets, and there continues to be a lack of older dhufish and pink snapper in the population which is important as these are the breeding fish, needed to replenish stocks.

The 2030 recovery target is consistent with global best practice under the Marine Stewardship Council​ standard. It is vitally important that we recover the resource by 2030 as a prolonged recovery timeframe increases the risk of further decline in stocks, particularly if we experience prolonged periods of low breeding success.

Stock assessments have been undertaken periodically, with the latest published in 2021. 

The Harvest Strategy has outlined key milestones and harvest control rules to recover the resource by 2030. In line with this strategy, further management action is now required.

All fishers play a key role in the recovery of demersal stocks to sustainable levels and proposed management options are due be released to the public for consultation and comment in April 2022.

For more information, read our media releases and news items:

FAQs, which explain the harvest strategy​, how it was developed, its milestones, how we monitor and measure the fish stock, current and future management are also available.​

Other resources:

Statewide recreational fishing survey​

Catch care guide​

Understanding the science

Shark depredation science update​

Recording of presentation with principal research scientist​

Consultation

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is working closely with Recfishwest, the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Marine Tourism WA to develop new measures to protect the sustainability of the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource.

In April, an industry-led consultation process by Recfishwest consulted with recreational fishers to seek a broad range of ideas and views on how to manage the reduced total catch limit and help the stock recover. The Recfishwest survey has now closed.

Recfishwest has also engaged an expert working group with charter, tackle industry and fishing club representatives to provide input, consider recreational sector feedback and work with DPRID to investigate preferred management arrangements. Visit the Recfishwest website for more information about the consultation and working group.

DPIRD is also continuing to work with WAFIC and Marine Tourism WA on proposed changes for the commercial and charter sectors. 

Following consideration of feedback and proposed management options from Recfishwest, WAFIC and Marine Tourism WA, DPIRD will release a proposed management package for recreational, charter and commercial sectors achieve the reduced fish mortality and catch limits for broader community consultation mid-year.

Following consideration of the outcomes of consultation, the final management packages to support the recovery of demersal stocks by 2030 will then be provided to the State Government for consideration and approval.

Management changes are expected to be implemented over the summer of 2022/23.



Recreational sector consultation timeline​​.



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Last modified: 30/05/2022 1:36 PM

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