Minister for Fisheries Confirms Herring Trap Net Fishery to Remain Closed

You would be hard pressed to find a recreational fisher in WA without a Herring story. These little fish are the heroes and life blood of fishing in WA and an important part of our culture.

This is why, in 2014, Recfishwest embraced changes to Herring management which helped ensure sustainability by allowing hundreds of tonnes of additional Herring to spawn every year. The Minister for Fisheries Joe Francis recently confirmed that current management controls for Australian Herring will remain.

This means: The recreational bag limit of 12 Herring will continue. The relatively low valued trap net Herring fishery, which was catching two out of every three Herring caught in WA and selling a large portion as a low-value crayfish bait will remain closed.  

These measures were adopted after stock assessment revealed Herring stocks were at risk. The results of a recent review of Herring indicate that management intervention is still required to support Herring stock recovery. The current arrangements are deemed appropriate, having already proved sufficient in meeting the catch reduction requirements.

The Ministers decision reflects our belief that Herring are far more valuable on the end of a kids fishing line than as bait in the bottom of a cray pot. Australian Herring represent a far greater value to recreational fishers as a safe and accessible inshore species for fishers of all abilities to enjoy.

Recfishwest is pleased to see that the government continues to prioritise the use of Herring for recreational and human consumption purposes in line with community expectations.

Herring by the Dozen

As of 2015, millions of Herring will be left in the water in a move to ensure the sustainability of WA’s most important fish.  The Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston, today announced the closure of the commercial Herring G-trap fishery and a reduced recreational bag limit of 12 Herring per person per day will come into effect on March 1, 2015.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland welcomed today’s announcement to close the commercial south coast Herring trap fishery, leaving hundreds of tonnes of spawning Herring in WA waters each year.

“For recreational fishing families Herring is the most important fish in WA therefore its sustainability is paramount to ensure quality fishing experiences can be passed on to future generations.” Dr Rowland said.

“While a bag limit reduction to 12 is disappointing and a larger cut than we think necessary, we are pleased to have secured year round access and to see that the government has prioritised the use of Herring in line with community expectations.”

Since sustainability concerns were first raised over 12 months ago, Recfishwest have been proactively pushing for management action that prioritises the use of this resource for recreational and human consumption purposes.

“Today’s decision reflects Recfishwest’s belief that Herring is much more valuable on the end of a kid’s fishing line than as bait in the bottom of a cray pot.”
Original catch reductions proposed by the Department of Fisheries included a bag limit cut to eight plus a three month closed season that would have prevented people fishing for Herring over Easter.

“It’s the right of every West Australian to catch Herring and Recfishwest worked hard to ensure families can still catch Herring whenever they have an opportunity to go fishing.”
“Following the success of increased Rock Lobster bag limits, Recfishwest will continue to work on behalf of every WA fishing family to ensure Herring bag limits are relaxed as stocks rebound.”

“We look forward to seeing the recovery plan in detail and will keep the recreational fishing community up to date with this issue as new information becomes available.” Dr Rowland said.