Common sense prevails with reinstatement of three pelagic finfish bag limit at the Abrolhos Islands

The Geraldton and Mid-West fishing community is relieved to hear that, following Recfishwest’s constructive discussions with the Fisheries Minister, the bag limit for popular large pelagic species like mackerel and tuna has been reinstated back to three fish around the Abrolhos Islands.

The initial revised daily bag limit down to one large pelagic fish around the Abrolhos was announced as part of the package of new west coast demersal fishing rule changes announced by the Minister in December last year.

The bag limit change had left many Mid-West fishers bewildered and disappointed, given there are no sustainability concerns around these fast-growing pelagic species which are highly abundant around the Abrolhos.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “The Minister has made a sensible decision to reinstate the original daily bag limit back to three large pelagic finfish.

“We are glad that the Minister listened to us and common sense has prevailed. Recfishwest is now looking forward to seeing fishers rightfully enjoy the full benefits of the pelagic sportfishing opportunities available throughout the Abrolhos Islands.

“Generations of fishers have travelled to the Islands for the fantastic sportfishing opportunities on offer, so this is great news. We are glad to see DPIRD has now clarified the reinstatement of the original three large pelagic fish bag limit on their website and in the online version of their fishing rules booklet.

See the updated version of DPIRD’s fishing rules booklet here.

“This change was also inconsistent with the overall push to develop greater sportfishing opportunities to support the recovery of demersal scalefish species along the west coast.”

With the latest revision, it also means charter operators and their customers can rightfully enjoy the full sportfishing opportunities on offer throughout the islands during the April-May period, which is one of the most popular times of the year for visitors to travel to the region and wet a line in the hopes of catching one of these hard-fighting pelagic species.

A spokesperson for the Minister’s Office told the Geraldton Guardian, “A bag limit of three large pelagic finfish has been reinstated following feedback provided by Recfishwest about how the reduced bag limit was impacting the recreational fishing experience at the Abrolhos Islands.”

“The reduction was originally introduced as part of a new wilderness fishing concept at the Abrolhos Islands and not due to sustainability concerns.”

The Abrolhos Islands are teeming with pelagic finfish species such as this wahoo, landed by this fisher onboard Blue Juice Charters.

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