West coast demersal recreational fishing community consultation

As the peak recreational fishing sector body, Recfishwest is consulting fishers on your views and ideas on what further action should be taken to support the recovery of pink snapper and dhufish stocks. This is part of a broader consultation process that gives fishers multiple opportunities to provide valuable input into the future management of some of our favourite fish (see below for more details about the consultation process).

It follows the latest DPIRD west coast demersal stock assessment which has shown that while there are some signs of recovery, west coast demersal stocks are not recovering quickly enough to meet the 2030 sustainability target set in the recovery plan launched for these species in 2010.

As a result, the Minister for Fisheries has announced there will be a 50 per cent reduction in the total fishing mortality limit from 750t to 375t to ensure the rate of recovery gets back on track.

West coast demersal scalefish survey – Phase One

Despite the rumours, no management changes for west coast demersals such as further reduced bag limits or extended closures, have been decided on yet. It is, therefore, really important for you to have your say – sharing your views could make a difference to the future of this fishery.

It is clear from the latest stock assessment that while there are some signs of recovery, west coast demersal stocks are not recovering quickly enough to meet the 2030 sustainability target set in 2010 and action will need to be taken.

READ MORE ABOUT THE STOCK LATEST STOCK ASSESSMENT HERE 

The purpose of the Phase One survey, which has now closed, was to get a broad understanding of the general management approaches members of the fishing community prefer – as well as hearing any other ideas you may have had about how the sustainability targets might be achieved.

Thank you to nearly 6,000 of you who responded to our survey – this was a magnificent response and shows how much you care about these special fish.

READ OUR WEST COAST DEMERSAL SCALEFISH SURVEY RESULTS HERE 

The 6,000-plus responses we received to our survey helped guide the West Coast Demersal Expert Working Group (EWG) we set up to assist us in developing advice and recommendations to DPIRD on future management options. Following seven meetings with the EWG between April and June 2022 to carefully assess potential management measure options, we provided the following advice and recommendations to DPIRD.

RECFISHWEST WEST COAST DEMERSAL SCALEFISH ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DPIRD

Because this is a complex fishery and, because we want to see some out-of-the box approaches potentially being adopted, it may be that a mix of different management measures will be included in the final management package put forward by DPIRD for further consultation. We have put a table together outlining some of the management approaches that could be included with some pros and cons.

CHECK OUT OUR OVERVIEW OF SOME OF THE POTENTIAL MANAGEMENT APPROACHES HERE!

The consultation process and timeline

To give fishers the chance to have their say and put forward their ideas about how a 50 per cent reduction in total fishing mortality in the fishery can be achieved, two phases of consultation with recreational fishers, commercial fishers and the charter sector will be taking place in the coming months – see DPIRD’s west coast demersal consultation timeline below.

Because this is such an important resource and a complex multiple-species fishery, you will have two chances to put forward your views:

  • Phase One – in April consultation took place through our survey (see above for more details) to help us get a broad understanding of the general management approaches members of the fishing community prefer – as well as hearing any other ideas you may have about how the sustainability targets might be achieved. READ THE SURVEY RESULTS HERE
  • Phase Two –  consultation is set to soon take place on a specific package of fishery management changes put forward by DPIRD. We have been assured by the Government that in developing this package, fisheries managers will take into consideration advice we put forward having considered feedback provided by the fishing community through the survey.
  • We also set up a West coast demersal Expert Working Group, comprised of leading members of the fishing community with significant interests and experience in the fishery. This expert working group assessed ideas and feedback from the first phase of consultation and provided advice to Recfishwest about preferred management options. Find out more about the Expert Working Group here. 

Keeping you in the loop

We want to ensure the consultation process is transparent and you are kept up-to-date every step of the way. We will keep you posted on developments through our communication channels throughout the process.
Consider signing up to our e-newsletter(s) here

Want to know more or talk to us?

We welcome any questions or views you would like to share with us directly. Contact us on (08) 9246 3366 or email us at info@recfishwest.org.au