The Gascoyne fishing community’s care and commitment to healthy fisheries has paid of, with Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announcing a closure around the northern end of Bernier Island, offshore from Carnarvon, to protect pink snapper spawning aggregations.
The closure addresses concerns over the sustainability of pink snapper in the Gascoyne, after a recent stock assessment completed by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development indicated a risk to snapper numbers, creating a concern for both Recfishwest and the Carnarvon fishing community.
Fishers having their say
Carnarvon fishers had input and showed an overwhelming willingness to be part of the solution to protect the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne.
“This will benefit everyone in the fishing industry, just the same way it has in Cockburn Sound and the Inner Gulfs of Shark Bay,” one Carnarvon fisher said.
“I’m happy with this proposal if it will contribute to the future of the fishery.”
Another fisher also said:
“Both local Carnarvon fishers and the annual visitors who are extremely important to our economy firmly support the spawning season closure of the pink snapper.”
With the community’s input, Recfishwest has been able to ensure the State Government clearly understands the views of locals and visitors who enjoy fishing in the Gascoyne.
“Our role is to protect the interests of the community and support quality fishing experiences,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.
“Through good communication and consultation, Recfishwest were able to negotiate an outcome that satisfied the Carnarvon community.
“The closed areas will now protect critical sites for reproduction and growth of the species. It’s a great outcome for marine tourism and the local economy. The expected increase in fish populations means better fishing experiences for many years to come.”
Minister Kelly praised all fishing sectors for working together to find a suitable solution to recover stocks of this important fish.
“I thank all the fishing sectors, commercial, charter and recreational, for their joint responsibility towards the stewardship of this important resource,” he said.
“Pink snapper is one of the most popular fish species in WA, and all of the sectors have been proactive in supporting the need for action to recover the oceanic stock.”
Recfishwest looks forward to seeing this important stock managed in a way which allows its immediate recovery and thanks everyone who has played a part, especially the people of Carnarvon, in the successful outcome of the proposal to protect these highly prized fish.
What does this mean?
The pink snapper spawning closure adjacent to Bernier Island is consistent with arrangements to protect pink snapper spawning aggregations in Cockburn Sound and Warnbro Sound. During 1 June to 31 August in any year, inclusive, the spawning closure in the Gascoyne region:
- Prohibits fishing for pink snapper;
- Prohibits fishing by line from a boat when pink snapper are on board;
- Allows boats with pink snapper on board to transit through or anchor within the waters of the proposed closure if no fishing by line is undertaken when in the waters of the closure; and
- Allows fishers to fish for other species by line from a boat in the waters of the closure if no pink snapper is on board that boat.