Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Gail Gago commended commercial, recreational and charter fishers for their vigilance during the annual statewide closure.
“The high level of compliance indicates that both recreational and commercial fishers embraced the snapper closure,” Ms Gago said.
“Throughout the closure period PIRSA Fisheries Officers regularly patrolled known snapper fishing locations and the high level of compliance shown by fishers was pleasing, not just from a compliance standpoint but also in terms of sustainability.
“To see that South Australian fishers from all sectors are doing the right thing follows on from the high level of industry and community consultation that occurred as part of the review of snapper management arrangements since 2011.
“It shows they understand the importance of keeping our snapper stocks sustainable and I hope to see this good behavior continue with spatial closures in the gulfs.”
Ms Gago said the state wide seasonal closure and smaller spatial closures are in place to protect snapper stocks from fishing and from disturbance to their breeding behavior during their critical reproduction period.
“These closures have been implemented to aid the protection and recovery of local snapper stocks,” she said.
Ms Gago said it was important to remind fishers not to break the closure period on Sunday morning.
“Remember the state wide closure remains in place until midday on Sunday and anyone caught taking snapper in the morning will face the risk of being fined,” she said.
“Our officers will continue to be on the lookout and it would be most disappointing to have to issue fines and expiations to fishers who jump the gun and start targeting snapper before the midday opening.”
The spatial spawning closures that remain in place until January 31 include four key areas within northern Spencer Gulf and a single area in Gulf St Vincent, where significant spawning aggregations of snapper are known to occur.
All fishing sectors are prohibited from possessing, targeting and taking snapper within the four kilometre radius of each closure area from 15 December, 2013 to 31 January, 2014.
Ms Gago said the behavior of snapper during their annual breeding period makes them more vulnerable to capture and disturbance caused by fishing activity and the new management measures aim to secure the sustainability of our prized snapper stocks well into the future.
“Importantly, we are confident that local and visiting fishers will still be able to take advantage of abundant fishing opportunities that exist in our northern gulfs away from the spatial spawning closure areas,” she said.
The spatial spawning closures will be reviewed before the annual state wide closure begins next year in November 2014.
PIRSA consulted widely on the development of the closures, with the major stakeholders including RecFish SA, the Surveyed Charter Boat Owners & Operators Association, the commercial fishing industry and local government involved throughout the process.
A map and more information of the spawning spatial closure area is available from www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries or from the SA Recreational Guide Smartphone app which can be downloaded from www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp.
Anyone can report illegal fishing activity through the 24 hour FISHWATCH number on 1800 0654 522. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.