Recfishwest is continuing to work closely with the Government towards a package for west coast demersal fish that can ensure there will be fish for the future while keeping fishers on the water.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “Government is at the table with us. We have put our position strongly to them and that has been received. It is fair to say this is genuine consultation, that no decision has yet been made and that there has been some constructive discussions.”
Key elements of Recfishwest’s west coast demersal package
- Increased spawning protection for fish, particularly dhufish, from 20 January to 20 March
- The fishery being closed for a total of 4.5 months.
- A wide range of other measures including reviewing size limits, better fishing practices education and increasing gear restrictions
- Better data collection and science including real time recreational fishing data collection, better understanding of the shark bite-off issue and a better understanding of the potential effectiveness of stocking of species like snapper and dhufish.
“Core to our package is increased spawning protection for demersal fish, particularly dhufish, along with a Term 3 closure,” said Andrew, “This would amount to the fishery being closed for around four-and-a-half months and would be in addition to a range of other measures we have proposed aimed at reducing mortality of these fish.”
Following the ongoing discussions, Recfishwest understands a decision on the final west coast demersal package will be announced by the Government in early to mid-November.
Andrew said, “It’s really important to understand we are focussed on sustainability and that is what our package does. We are doing what needs to be done in terms of reducing fish mortality, while allowing people to spend more time on the water avoiding an eight or nine-month closure.”
Andrew said the response up to this point from the recreational fishing community has been “absolutely fantastic.”
“We really want to thank everyone for their genuine support,” he said. “It’s brought home to us just how deeply people care about these fish. People are happy to play their role but believe there is a better way.”