Herring Harvest Strategy – Recfishwest comments

The Department of Fisheries have recently released a draft of the Herring Harvest Strategy for public comment. Recfishwest have made it clear that we can only support Harvest Strategies that contain clear and specifically articulated performance levels, target limits, trigger limits harvest control rules and associated management actions designed to achieve the agreed objectives for the resource and relevant fishery sectors.

Recfishwest have been asking for information about how the Herring recovery was planned to be managed since sustainability concerns were first raised in late 2013 and we are pleased to finally see some clarity about the future management of Herring.

Recfishwest are pleased to see the Government’s policy decision to prioritise Herring for recreation and human consumption purposes rather than as a low value bait has been included as a standalone objective within this draft strategy.  Recfishwest have always believed Herring was more important at the end of a child’s fishing line than squashed into a bait bag.

The Draft Harvest Strategy has suggested it will take 3 to 6 years for stocks to return to between threshold and limit levels and it is hard to argue for increases in the bag limit until stocks are showing signs of recovery and have climbed above the limit reference level. This means we cannot expect the bag limit to be raised for a few years. While Recfishwest understand this time frame can change due to a number of reasons we believe it provides the community with an idea of the pace of recovery and will be useful in controlling unrealistic recovery expectations.

Another pleasing aspect of this draft Harvest Strategy is the inclusion of economic and social objectives. These objectives articulate what Herring mean to each sector and are important in helping to manage expectations. Unfortunately this draft has yet to identify the indicators to be used to assess these objectives.

There are a number of other points about this draft document that Recfishwest will be raising with the Department of Fisheries in our submission and if anyone else would like to make a submission the Draft strategy can be found on the Department of Fisheries website or by clicking on the following link:


Submissions on the draft harvest strategy are due by 5pm on 4 November 2016 and can be forwarded to Martin Holtz at martin.holtz@fish.wa.gov.au or by mail to:
Attention: Martin Holtz
Department of Fisheries
Locked Bag 39
Cloisters Square

Feel free to send Recfishwest a copy of your submission.