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Public briefing on sustainability of fish at risk

AUSTRALIA - Fisheries managers and researchers will hold a public briefing in Geraldton next Thursday to outline important research on at risk Western Australian fish stocks and the need for new options to manage recreational catches sustainably.

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The public briefings so far have shown that fishers find it valuable to hear about the science behind the concerns to give them a better understanding of the issues

Department of Fisheries South West Bioregion Manager Ian Curnow

New research has revealed that key WA demersal scalefish, like the long-lived species such as dhufish, pink snapper, and baldchin groper are being over-fished in the West Coast Bioregion that extends from just north of Kalbarri to Black Point east of Augusta.

The number of older fish in dhufish and snapper populations has fallen and recruitment of juveniles has been shown to be highly sporadic. This, coupled with the slow growing, long-lived nature of the species makes them highly vulnerable to over fishing.

A new management plan is being implemented for the commercial wetline fishery and Fisheries Minister Jon Ford has just released a discussion paper to promote a greater understanding of the challenges in managing recreational fishing.

Minister Ford also recently announced a range of interim measures to help remove the risk of losing our key indicator species, while new management arrangements are developed.

Department of Fisheries South West Bioregion Manager Ian Curnow said, in developing a new approach, we would have to consider various management options and it was hoped recreational fishers would take the opportunity to contribute to the process.

“The public briefings so far have shown that fishers find it valuable to hear about the science behind the concerns to give them a better understanding of the issues and we hope it leads to new ideas in managing these key species into the future,” Mr Curnow said.

Submissions can be made through the post or online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

Fisheries Management Paper No.225 - Managing the recreational catch of demersal scalefish on the West Coast – and the Fisheries Research Report No.163 on the stock status of key species - are available from the Department’s website.

Mr Curnow said no decisions would be made by the Minister on long-term strategies to ensure sustainability of the ‘at risk’ species, until Mr Ford had reviewed community comment on this discussion paper and a further paper to be issued early next year that will summarise the submissions and feedback from fishers and the general public.

the Fish Site Editor

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