Time to have your say on the future of west coast demersals

In February, Fisheries Minister Don Punch announced catches of west coast demersal scalefish, including favourites like dhuies and pinkies, will be halved from 750t to 375t.

A two-staged consultation process over the next five months was launched yesterday to allow recreational fishers to have their say in its future.

The first phase of the consultation includes a survey Recfishwest is running to get a broad understanding of the general management approaches and ideas recreational fishers would prefer to help get the fishery back on track to meet sustainability targets.

This is the first time that you as fishers will have the opportunity to get your ideas across that can shape the future of the fishery.

This is where your voice really matters. Click here for more information on the consultation process.

Fishers care deeply about the future of west coast demersals like fantastic pink snapper.

Expert working group  

To help Recfishwest assess your ideas, we have set up a west coast demersal scalefish Expert Working Group, comprised of leading members of the fishing community who have significant interests and experience in the fishery.

Find out more about the Expert Working Group here.

Having taken into consideration the survey results and the Expert Working Group’s input, Recfishwest will provide advice to State Government on what we’ve heard which will inform the formal Government consultation process scheduled for June/July.

We need to do everything we can to ensure fish like this can be enjoyed forever in the West Coast Bioregion. 📸 2 Oceans Tackle

Fishers care and are concerned 

The Minister’s original announcement triggered a great deal of concern both in the community and within parliament.

Nearly 2,500 concerned fishers have already signed a petition asking for more time to properly consider the impact of all options and the Minister has also responded to a grievance on this issue that was lodged in parliament.

This high level of concern is not surprising given an estimated 40,000 licenced boat fishers fish for west coast demersals each year, spending a good proportion of the $2.4 billion spent State-wide by recreational fishers annually.

People wear their passion for dhuies on their boats, clothes and skin with boats, clothing brands and even tattoos proclaiming fishers’ passion for the iconic demersal.

All of this shows the huge social value of west coast demersal scalefish and how much fishers have always deeply cared about them.

All of us want plenty of these fantastic fish to be around for us and our kids to enjoy, but there is a need to reduce the total fishing mortality for west coast demersals.

Fishers wear their passion for dhuies on their boats, clothes and skin with boats, clothing brands and even tattoos proclaiming their passion for the iconic species.

Innovative thinking needed 

This is a complex multi-species, multi-sector fishery spread over a very large area.

Demersal fish are long lived and slow growing and there is a significant variation in the current rate of recovery between different species and locations.

The right action is needed in the right locations to ensure dhufish and pink snapper stocks recover by 2030.

More innovative and less traditional approaches to managing the fishery will be required if we are to successfully secure the future of our favourite fish.

Recfishwest strongly urges you to take the survey, but if you have any questions or comments you would like to share outside of the survey you can respond to this email or call us on 9246 3366.