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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource

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Public Consultation

Consultation is now closed. 

Thank you to all who provided feedback on the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource consultation and the Statewide Recreational survey.

We are now reviewing the submissions and a summary of the consultation responses will be provided on our Your Say​ site. More information about the consultation process is shown on this page.


The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) led a six-week public consultation process to seek the views of recreational, charter and commercial fishers on proposed management packages to support the recovery of demersal scalefish stocks, including fishing favourites WA dhufish and pink snapper.

As part of the process, DIPRD considered feedback and preferred management tools from Recfishwest, the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Marine Tourism WA, and developed targeted management packages for the recreational, charter and commercial sectors.

Each proposed management package includes options for primary and supporting measures that will achieve the reduced total catch limits necessary to support the recovery of demersal stocks by 2030. 

The consultation ran for six weeks, from Thursday 18 August to Friday 30 September.

For the recreational sector, two limited recreational open season options have been proposed. Proposal one allows recreational fishing for demersal scalefish over the popular summer and autumn seasons, and proposal two allows fishing over autumn and spring seasons to avoid the peak spawning periods for key demersal species. 

For the charter sector, the primary measure proposed is the introduction of a tag system, with specific limits on the number of demersal species that can be retained each year on the West Coast. 

For the commercial sector, the package of proposed primary measures include reducing the available fishing hours in the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery (Line fishery) and Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fishery.

Following consideration of the consultation feedback, final management packages to support the recovery of demersal stocks by 2030 will be provided to the Minister for Fisheries for consideration and approval.

Management changes are expected to be implemented over the summer of 2022/23, following an extensive educational campaign. 

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 enable stocks of these important fish to recover to sustainable levels by 2030.

The State Government, through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, has considered feedback and preferred management tools from Recfishwest, the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Marine Tourism WA to develop targeted management packages for the recreational, charter and commercial sectors.

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 West Coast 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.

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 outlines 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.

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​

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Last modified: 3/10/2022 4:15 PM

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