Recfishwest welcomes the latest announcement from Fisheries Minister Don Punch, who announced the bag limit for herring – ‘the people’s fish’ – has officially increased from 12 to 20 as of Saturday, October 1.
A good outcome for fishers, it maximises the benefits of the fish for the community, while ensuring its sustainability, with stocks more than amply recovered to a sufficient level to continue growing while supporting the increased bag limit.
The decision to increase the bag limit to 20 came after Recfishwest recommended the change to the Minister having gauged the views of more than 4,000 recreational fishers who provided us their views through our herring bag limit survey.
Maximising social and economic benefits
It also follows the Government’s decision to prioritise herring for recreation and human consumption in line with the current Fisheries Act which legally obliges the State Government of the day to achieve “the optimum economic, social and other benefits from the use of fish resource.”
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “This is a great outcome and shows what a sensible fisheries management approach can achieve that recognises and takes on board the input of recreational fishers.
“We hope the Minister can adopt a similar sensible approach in arriving at a decision for the west coast demersal scalefish fishery that can balance the need to speed up the recovery of the stock without wrecking the lifestyle and livelihoods of tens of thousands of recreational fishers.
“Let’s not forget that at one point prior to the management changes being made in 2015, Fisheries put a three-month closure on the table for herring that included the Easter holidays – a traditional time where West Aussie kids fish with their families to get a feed of herring.
“Thankfully that initial herring proposal didn’t proceed as the Department listened to the views of the community and found a ‘better way’ to protect sustainability without destroying the social benefits – this is exactly what needs to be done with the proposed nine-month closure for west coast demersals.
“We are currently in discussions with the Minister and the Department to hopefully arrive at a more balanced and sensible outcome for west coast demersal just as we did with herring.”
“A sensible and balanced outcome”
Fisheries Minister Don Punch said, “With the herring recovery backed by the latest scientific stock assessment, Recfishwest requested the daily herring bag limit increase from 12 to 20. I am very pleased we can make this change, which will enable fishers to catch an ample feed for themselves and their family.”
Andrew added, “Herring gives great fishing memories to a wide range of angling families across the State and this crucial species has given many a young angler’s first love for fishing given their abundance and accessibility.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re new to fishing or an experienced angler, all fishers love catching herring, which are good-eating and are a frequent catch off most of WA’s jetties, beaches and rock walls.
“Thank you to all recreational fishing community members for your input into this decision. It’s great to see your efforts have been recognised and rewarded in recovering this fishery. We will continue to make sure there are plenty of herring around for future generations to enjoy forever.”