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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Pink snapper management

​Pink snapper, a demersal (bottom-dwelling) scalefish, is targeted by the recreational (including charter) and the commercial sector. We manage all fishing sectors together to help ensure long-term sustainability of the species.

Pink snapper is an indicator species in the Gascoyne Coast, West Coast and South Coast Bioregions. This means its stock status, with that of other indicator species, is used to indicate the status of all inshore demersal species in those bioregions.

Gascoyne Coast Bioregion

The Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery commercially take pink snapper in the oceanic waters off Shark Bay. We set a total allowable commercial catch (TACC) and allocate individual transferable quotas to each fishing licence. Quota units operate from 1 September to 31 August (a ‘quota-year’).

There are more complex arrangements in Shark Bay's three inner gulfs, where pink snapper stocks were found to be depleted in the 1990s. 

As part of an integrated fisheries management approach, we set a combined annual total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial and recreational pink snapper fishing. There is a separate pink snapper stock in each of the three gulfs, so each gulf has its own TAC , with 75 per cent allocated to recreational fishers.

West Coast Bioregion

The demersal scalefish stocks from Kalbarri to Augusta are called the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource (WCDSR). The WCDSR is under a formal allocation, with 64% allocated to the commercial sector and 36% to the recreational (including charter) sector.

The recreational (including charter) sector is managed to a total catch limit by size, bag, boat, and possession limits, limited entry and tags (charter) and limited open seasons for recreational fishers. In addition, when fishing from a powered boat a Recreational Boat Fishing licence is required. 

In the commercial sector, the West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Managed Fishery land the majority of commercially caught pink snapper in the West Coast Bioregion. We managed this fishery by limiting entry, applying gear restrictions, and allocating a total catch limit. Units of entitlement are allocated to permits in ’hours’ of fishing time and are monitored through a vessel monitoring system. Other commercial fisheries in the bioregion also take a small amount of pink snapper. 

To ensure there are stocks of these iconic fish for the future, a 20-year recovery plan for the WCDSR has been in place since 2010 after a period of overfishing in the early 2000s. Find out more about recovery on the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource web page​.

South Coast Bioregion

The commercial South Coast Line and Fish Trap Managed Fishery and Southern Demersal Gillnet and Demersal Longline Fishery (SDGDLF) take pink snapper in the South Coast Bioregion. These fisheries are limited entry and the SDGDLF is allocated units of entitlement (in hours), which is monitored through a vessel monitoring system.

The take of pink snapper in the South Coast Bioregion by recreational and charter fishers is managed by size, bag and possession limits and a limited number of charter boat licenses.

There is currently no formal catch range for demersal scalefish in the South Coast Bioregion. Additional monitoring is proposed, and more formal management arrangements are likely to be developed.

Monitoring, assessment, and research 

Research on demersal species in the Gascoyne Coast, West Coast and South Coast Bioregions focus on monitoring the status of indicator species, such as pink snapper to ensure fishing pressure is not having a negative impact on stocks. For more information, see Fisheries Occasional Publication No. 85, 2011.

We assess the status of indicator species using a weight-of-evidence approach that considers all available information.

Catch and effort data from commercial and charter logbooks are reviewed annually, with Statewide surveys of recreational private boat-based fishers undertaken every two to three years since 2011/12. Estimates of total fishing mortality (retained catches + mortality of released fish) are compared against relevant recovery benchmarks for each sector.

Fish frames of indicator species are collected and used to determine age compositions of stocks in relevant management areas, from which estimates of fishing mortality and relative spawning biomass are calculated. 

Links to the most up to date stock assessment for the WCDSR can be found on the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource webpage​.​


Last modified: 30/01/2023 11:05 AM

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