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

Pink Snapper Need Our Help Again!

Minister Dave Kelly has provided his support for our proposal to increase protection for spawning snapper in and around Cockburn Sound.

You can find the details of the closure here.

You can read the story about the issue on WAToday here.

We would like to thank you all for your support of this proposal, without your support, we cant get stuff like this done!

————————————————-

On Tuesday 9th July, we wrote:

Following last year’s pink snapper spawning season in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds, Recfishwest held concerns over the effectiveness of the current rules in providing adequate protection for spawning snapper.

Recfishwest asked the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to provide an update on current research, which was supplied yesterday.

Click here to view the Fisheries research update.

Recreational fishers have a long history of looking after pink snapper in Cockburn Sound. Each year, families release thousands of snapper fingerlings as part of the Snapper Guardians program.

This Fisheries research update indicates that:

  • There are fewer older snapper in the south-west/metro population than there should be;
  • There are a limited number of age classes in the population;
  • Pink snapper in spawning condition begin to gather in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds in August and September; and,
  • Evidence suggests that fishers are actively targeting pre-spawning fish as they make their way to the spawning grounds.

What does all this mean?

Put simply, snapper require more protection, particularly during the spawning period when they are very easy to catch due to their schooling nature and predictable migration pathways.

Given this Fisheries research update, Recfishwest propose the following:

  1. An extension to the current spawning closure period to include September (currently October to January),
  2. An extension to the current closure area to outside of Garden and Carnac Islands (see map below).
Recfishwest’s proposed pink snapper spawning closed area from 1 September to 31 January

We believe these measures will provide adequate protection to spawning fish whilst still letting fishers catch pink snapper on the Five Fathom Bank and along the rock groynes at Fremantle.

These measures will allow fish to spawn undisturbed as well as provide protection along the known migration pathways to snapper spawning grounds.

The Cockburn Sound pink snapper spawning aggregations are the largest and most important on the lower west coast. The breeding success of these fish is critical to maintain the future of snapper across the region.

The right time to do the right thing is right now and we’d like to see these measures introduced immediately.

See what our CEO Dr Andrew Rowland had to say below: