Recfishers’ Views Sought on Gascoyne Pink Snapper Management Plan

Recfishers are being encouraged  to have their say on a draft pink snapper management recovery plan for the Gascoyne region.

Recfishwest is proud to have worked closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and commercial fishing sector representatives in a joint working group to develop the draft recovery plan.

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne

The development of the recovery plan follows a stock assessment in 2017 that indicated a risk to pink snapper numbers in the region and advocates building on current research and management actions, setting out a recovery ‘road map’ with clear targets and timeframes for recovery of the resource.

Click here to read the draft recovery plan

The draft plan is open for public comment until 5pm on Wednesday 27 November. To have your say, send your comments to matt@recfishwest.org.au.

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne. These highly prized fish provide fantastic opportunity for both local and visiting fishers to tussle with a hard-fighting, yet accessible, sportfish that is also rated highly on the plate.

Pink snapper provide a fantastic fishing opportunity for local and visiting fishers alike

Recfishwest believes it is important to protect the pink snapper breeding stock and supported initial management changes that were introduced following the stock assessment, which included a spawning closure north of Bernier Island. The closure was also supported by 96 per cent of the community.

We applaud the local Carnarvon community for their input on this issue so far. The people of Carnarvon love fishing and genuinely care about healthy fisheries. Local fishers have shown an overwhelming willingness to be part of the solution for recovering the pink snapper fishery.

Click here to read more about the Gascoyne pink snapper recovery so far

Future Focus for Gascoyne Pink Snapper

Pink snapper are the lifeblood of recreational fishing in the Gascoyne. These highly prized fish provide fantastic opportunity for both local and visiting fishers to tussle with a hard fighting, yet accessible sportfish that is also rated highly on the plate.

Managing our states fisheries is an exciting and challenging task

Readers might remember management changes for oceanic pink snapper were implemented last year, which included a snapper spawning closure north of Bernier Island, offshore from Carnarvon as well as a reduction in the allowable catch for the commercial fishing sector.

The community were consulted after a stock assessment indicated a risk to snapper numbers in the region, and agreed that these measures were appropriate to try and recover the snapper stock as quickly as possible. The spawning closure had over 96% support from the community. You can read more about it here.

Managing our states fisheries is an exciting and challenging task that takes place in a dynamic environment affected by many influences. This means that it’s important to constantly check-in on how management changes are affecting both our fish stocks and our fishing experiences.

In the case of Gascoyne pink snapper, Recfishwest recently met with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and representatives from the commercial fishing sector to further develop the recovery plan for the oceanic pink snapper resource in the Gascoyne region.

Recfishwest is proud to continue to work with all stakeholders to refine the recovery strategy in order to rebuild this snapper stock as soon as possible

This work includes reviewing current research and management actions, endorsing appropriate catch levels and timelines for future stock assessments and discussing future management to stimulate the fishery to recover at the desired rate.

Recfishwest is proud to continue to work with all stakeholders to refine the recovery strategy in order to rebuild this snapper stock as soon as possible.

Recreational fishing is an integral part of Carnarvon’s social fabric and local economy, so it’s vitally important that we balance the protection of this valuable resource with the opportunity to visit Carnarvon and fish in other places, or for different species. Through positive community engagement and consultation, this balance was achieved.

If you are planning on travelling to Carnarvon for a fishing trip, it is worth noting that the spawning closure is in effect from the 1st of June – 31st August. This doesn’t affect fishing for other species such as coral trout or red emperor.

Positive community engagement and consultation leads to better protection of these valuable fish

Community Heroes Keeping Fishers Safe in the Gascoyne

It is common knowledge that the WA coast can be unforgiving. In our state alone we have lost 27 people from rock fishing incidents since 2002, an alarmingly high number for our beloved past time. This is a strong reminder that fishers must always consider the dangers when fishing along our coast.

Recfishwest wants you and your family to return home safe after a day’s fishing, and because of that we are proud to work with our community partners, government and the public to make that a reality through fishing safety initiatives around WA.

Earlier this month Recfishwest’s Safety Officer Bronte Nardi, traveled to the Gascoyne to work with rock fishing safety partners to see how the safety initiatives were progressing and to discuss some potential improvements in the area.

Tim and Sara at Quobba Station have been fantastic with their support of Angel Rings and life jackets.

Recently, Recfishwest has been working with the owners of Quobba Station who have installed new Angel Rings (Life Rings) at high-risk fishing locations along the Quobba coast. They believe in the program and have been more than willing to get their hands dirty and lend a hand.

Angel rings are also located at two other hardcore fishing locations in the Gascoyne, Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island, where plenty of avid fishers venture each year for their thrill of land-based game fishing, but who sometimes come unstuck on the rocks. 

Angel Rings are not the only piece of safety equipment available in the Gascoyne region to ensure you return home safe after landing some great catches of shore-based Mackerel or Tuna. You can also make the most of Recfishwest’s FREE Loan Life Jacket Program, where you can hire (at no cost) slimline, lightweight fishing life jackets, the Crewsaver 165. We have locations in the area with local businesses such as Carnarvon Tackle and Marine, Tel-O-Mac Tackle (Carnarvon), Quobba Station and Steep Point Ranger Station supporting the program, so why not pay them a visit, talk fishing and grab a free jacket for the day?!

Bronte Nardi said a lot of people in the WA community are working tirelessly to keep rock fishers safe.

‘’Without the support of local businesses, the FREE Loan Life Jacket Program would not exist.’’

“These operators are locals, they know the conditions and they want to see an end to fishing fatalities in their towns,” Bronte said.

Recfishwest is once again stressing the importance of taking personal responsibility for your own safety while fishing, by observing conditions and using appropriate safety equipment.

On your next fishing trip with your family and friends to the Gascoyne, please make sure you stay safe, wear a life jacket (hire a free one) and return home safe.

 

 

 

Safety Equipment Available in the Gascoyne: 

Free Loan Life Jacket Retailers: 

Carnarvon Tackle and Marine
Tel-O-Mac Tackle (Carnarvon)
Quobba Station
Steep Point Ranger Station

Locations of Angel Rings:

Dirk Hartog Island:
– Quion Head
– Urchin Point
– West Point

Steep Point:
– False Entrance
– Thunder Bay Blow Holes
– The Oven
– The Fault Line

Quobba:
– Blowholes
– Old Boundary
– Loopy’s
– High Rock
– 2 Mile
– Whistling Rock
– The Ledge
– Camp Rock
– The Caves

Recfishwest’s Statewide Fish and Survive Program, including the Free Life Jacket Loan Scheme, is proudly funded by the Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, Division of Fisheries.

Abrolhos Islands National Park to Improve Tourism and Support Wilderness Fishing Experiences

Recfishwest is encouraged by the latest news from the WA Premier, Colin Barnett, that the iconic Abrolhos Islands are set to become a National Park that will both promote tourism while protecting it’s unique wilderness values and great fishing experiences. It is important to note that the proposed changes only affect the terrestrial portion (land) of the island chain and fishing rules and regulations will remain unchanged.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland welcomed the announcement, suggesting management changes were needed to meet the challenges of increased public visitation to the islands in recent years.

“It is important that the Abrolhos Islands are actively managed to protect the things visiting fishers value most.”

“There’s always a fear that when management changes are made in highly valued areas, access to quality fishing is jeopardised by competing values. In this case, we are pleased to see the importance of fishing has been recognised by the Premier in the recent announcement.

We look forward to hearing more about this proposal and representing the WA fishing community in what would be a great move toward making an iconic WA location, a well-managed asset for the people of WA.

Recfishwest looks forward to being involved in the discussions that shape what the opportunity may look like.

Or to learn more about fishing at the Abrolhos Islands visit www.ilovefishing.com.au

 

Gascoyne Fish Trap Proposal – Recfishwest Statement

The Department of Fisheries have recently drafted a proposal to trial the use of fish traps between Steep Point and Coral Bay over the next three years.  Recfishwest is currently consulting with recreational fishers in the Gascoyne and note the strong community objection to this proposal.

Recfishwest has already met with local recreational fishers in Carnarvon, who raised their concerns directly with the Department of Fisheries representatives during a community focus group meeting organised by Recfishwest.

Concerns raised by the recreational fishing community include:
– Localised depletion of key species in important recreational fishing areas
– Introduction of traps will likely lead to a change of fishing behaviour as important recreational fishing areas will now become easily fished
– Any decrease in fishing quality will effect fishing based tourism, see a decrease in visitation and adversely impact local businesses
– Heavy traps are likely to damage to sensitive habitats such as coral reef
– There is no evidence to suggest traps will decrease shark predation for which it is claimed to do, allowing fish trapping would be treating the symptom not the cause
– There are concerns over ‘ghost’ fishing of lost traps
– The proposed ‘trial’ allows an unlimited number of traps in an unrestricted area
– The proposed ‘trial’ is unnecessarily long

Recfishwest share many of the concerns raised by worried fishers and Recfishwest will ensure the views of the local community and those who visit the region to enjoy the great fishing it has to offer are reflected in our submission to the Department which will be submitted on the 24th February.

The world class fishing opportunities throughout the Gascoyne are relished by locals and visitors alike and recreational fishing is an important economic contributor to local communities in the Gascoyne.

Recfishwest stands for sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for all West Australians.