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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Salmon commercial fishing

​Commercial salmon fishing off our south coast has been occurring since 1940, making it one of the oldest commercial fisheries in WA. Salmon fishers use a beach seine net to catch fish, however they may also be caught by rod and line from the beach.

Two commercial salmon fisheries operate in WA: the South Coast Salmon Managed Fishery (SCSMF) and South West Coast Salmon Managed Fishery (SWCSMF). There are currently 18 SCSMF licences, and six SWCSMF licences.

Commercial fishers in WA traditionally target salmon during the annual autumn ‘salmon run’ in March/April when large schools form near shore and move around the coast to their spawning area on the lower west coast. Fishers typically ‘spot’ large salmon schools and then use small boats to deploy nets around the schools before pulling them ashore. In some cases fish may be held in the net for up to 12 hours before harvesting, or being released, depending on market demand.

SCSMF licensees operate from 18 designated beaches, many of which have huts that are referred to as salmon camps.

As for all commercial fisheries, commercial salmon fishers require a licence to operate and must record their catch and submit monthly catch returns. The total catch level is reviewed annually by the Department. Commercial catch levels vary annually depending on environmental conditions and market demand, are currently well within sustainable limits and no catch limits currently apply.

For further information about commercial catch and effort please refer to the Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia. This publication should be read in conjunction with our Annual Report.

Last modified: 3/05/2019 2:37 PM

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