Common sense cray pot rope rule change makes for easier rigging over summer

The previous all-round year rules around needing you to weight your craypot ropes 20m or longer now no longer applies between November to March.

This is good news for cray fishers many of whom do most, if not all, of their fishing in the lead up to Christmas during the abundant whites run.

“Removing a rule for when it is not needed and adds an unnecessary level of complexity to this simple pleasure is a good and sensible outcome,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

This change has come about following advice given to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the Fisheries Minister by Recfishwest’s rock lobster reference group.

“It’s a good example how good fisheries management decisions can and should be made — by working together,” said Andrew.

The rules around weighting pot ropes 20m or longer were brought in in 2018 to ensure pot ropes hang vertically to protect migrating whales from getting caught up in cray-fishing gear.

However, as Recfishwest contended at the time, for a large part of the year, including the summer months when the vast majority of fishers are chasing crays, whales are not migrating and there is no need to rig pots with weighted ropes.

Subsequently, our rock lobster reference group provided clear advice to DPIRD and the Fisheries Minister that paved the way to relaxing the rule between November and March, which has also brought recreational cray-fishers into line with what is required of the commercial cray sector.

“Cray fishers will continue to play their part in protecting whales by adhering to the pot rigging rules from April to October,” said Andrew.

“So, it’s a good outcome for whales and a good outcome for cray fishers in particular and I would like to thank our rock lobster reference group for all the work they do in ensuring cray fishing continues to provide enjoyment for thousands of West Aussies.

“I’d also like to thank the Minister and DPIRD to listening and responding positively to the wishes of our sector.”

Click here to see the updated Recreational Rock Lobster Fishing Rules brochure

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell is among cray enthusiasts who pull pots before work during the run. Picture: Zach Relph / Recfishwest