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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Baldchin management

​Baldchin groper is targeted by commercial and recreational fishers, primarily in the West Coast Bioregion (from east of Augusta to north of Kalbarri). We manage both sectors together to ensure long-term sustainability of the species.

Baldchin groper don’t travel far, making it easy for fishers to find them, and using GPS (global positioning system) technology, record the spot and return another time.

Occasionally this species has been observed to ‘aggregate’ (gather in large groups) to ‘spawn’ (release sperm and eggs). At these times, they may also be vulnerable to high levels of fishing.

We manage recreational fishing of baldchin groper through size, gear, daily bag and possession limits. We manage the charter sector by limiting entry and stipulating activities allowed.

The West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery is the biggest commercial fishery for baldchin groper. We manage it by limiting entry permits and using quotas and gear controls.

New measures

In recent years, concerns about overfishing of demersal (bottom-dwelling) fish, including baldchin groper, in the West Coast Bioregion, led to new management measures. These include an annual two-month closed season for recreational fishing for demersal fish in the region. Bag limits were also reduced.

A closure to wetline and demersal gillnet and longline fishing from Lancelin to Mandurah was implemented for commercial fishers. The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is also used to allocate a maximum number of hours of fishing time annually. Units, or hours of fishing time, are allocated to permit holders. The management area incorporating the waters off the metropolitan area is currently allocated zero hours.

The aims are to cut catches of all scalefish, of all demersal species, and all ‘indicator species’ to less than 50 per cent of the catch in the region in 2005/06.

Baldchin groper is an indicator species in the West Coast Bioregion, which means its stock status is used to indicate the status of all inshore demersal species in the region.

Abrolhos Islands closure

Specific management objectives are set in the Abrolhos Islands Fish Habit Protection Area. Baldchin groper must not be caught there from 1 November – 31 January.

See the Abrolhos Islands Information Guide for details about fishing around the islands.

Baldchin groper catch and status 2010

​Region Commercial catch​ Recreational catch​ Charter catch ​ Status of stocks ​
Status of level of fishing effort​
West Coast Bioregion 17 tonnes​
19 tonnes
8 tonnes​ Recovering​ Acceptable​

Demersal catch, West Coast Bioregion 2010

​Region/fishery Demersal target catch ​
Actual demersal catch​
​All West Coast Bioregion demersal fisheries 450 tonnes​ 421 tonnes​

Research and monitoring

We monitor catch and ‘effort’ (the amount of fishing for a species) in various ways and analyse the data collected to assess stock status of each species.

Catch and effort data from the commercial and charter sectors catching baldchin groper are monitored annually from fishers’ daily/trip logbooks. VMS also allows fishing effort to be monitored.

Recreational fishing data from a Statewide survey of boat fishers is expected to be available at the end of 2012.

Research on demersal species in the West Coast Bioregion focuses on monitoring the status of the indicator species, including baldchin groper, to ensure fishing pressure is not having a negative impact on stocks.

Fish frames of indicator species caught throughout the region are donated by fishers. They are used to help our scientists determine the ages of stock for each species in each area, from which estimates of fishing mortality are calculated and stock status is determined.

A WA Marine Science Institute-funded project to investigate the stock structure of West Australian dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper in the region is complete. This was a collaboration between the Department of Fisheries, CSIRO and Murdoch University. The project also examined oceanographic influences on larval dispersal. The results will be available at a later date.


Last modified: 31/08/2012 11:16 AM

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