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Snapper Changes Announced to Secure Fish Stocks

Sustainability Breeding & genetics Politics +3 more

AUSTRALIA - A range of new management measures are being announced to provide greater protection to South Australias iconic Snapper species to safeguard future stocks.

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In 2012 this will include a two week extension to the November Snapper closure for commercial fishing as well as reduced bag limits for recreational and charter fishing during this time.

In 2013, the two week extended closure will apply to all sectors.

Executive Director of PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, Professor Mehdi Doroudi, said the new measures follow an extensive review and consultation into Snapper management arrangements.

The Snapper review commenced in 2011 in response to concerns about the long-term sustainability of the fishery as a result of increasing commercial catches and a concentration of targeted fishing activity on breeding aggregations by all fishing sectors, Professor Doroudi said.

The aim of PIRSAs review has been to establish new arrangements that control the level of commercial catch and minimise disturbance to the spawning aggregations so opportunities for spawning and recruitment success can be maximised.

We have been mindful of the potential economic, social and tourism impacts of any changes and have worked closely with all fishing sectors, tourism authorities and local government bodies to achieve a balanced outcome.

The changes to Snapper fishing include:

  • In 2012, a 15-day extension to the annual state-wide Snapper fishing closure will apply to commercial fishers.
  • In 2012, recreational and charter fishers will be able to fish for Snapper during the 15-day extension period (midday 30 November midday 15 December). However during this time reduced Snapper bag and boat limits will apply.
  • From 2013 onwards, the 15-day extension to the Snapper fishing closure will apply to all fishing sectors; commercial, recreational and charter. In effect, Snapper fishing will be completely banned in all South Australian waters from midday 1 November to midday 15 December annually.
  • Effective midday 15 December 2012, a daily commercial catch limit of 500kg will apply across all South Australian waters, to control the level of commercial impact on Snapper stocks.
  • Effective midday 15 December 2012, commercial fishers will be restricted to using 200 hooks on set lines (reduced from 400 hooks) when operating in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.
  • Additional work and community consultation will be undertaken on the development and implementation of Snapper spatial closures to further protect the main spawning aggregations in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent, with any further announcements to be made in early 2013.

Ultimately, the main objective is to protect and secure future Snapper stocks for the benefit of all fishing sectors and the community, Professor Doroudi said.

PIRSA is committed to monitoring the health of the fishery and will continue to work with key stakeholders to implement management measures that ensure the ecologically sustainable development of this highly valued resource.

Over coming months, PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture will undertake consultation on the implementation of spatial closures during the annual spawning aggregation period, which runs from November to January each year. These measures will be designed to further safeguard Snapper stocks by preventing fishers from targeting Snapper in selected significant breeding areas during this critical reproductive period.