Ban kicks in to bolster stocks of prized species

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Baldchin groper are among the most popular demersal species with WA anglers.
Camera IconBaldchin groper are among the most popular demersal species with WA anglers. Credit: SUPPLIED

South West anglers will have to press pause on their quest to land bigger and better fish after a seasonal closure on West Coast demersal finfish was implemented yesterday.

The closure applies to the entire West Coast Bioregion, running from the 27th parallel south to Black Point, south-east of Augusta, and is designed to reduce the amount of fish being caught by limiting the total time that anglers are able to spend fishing.

Demersal finfish typically dwell on or near the ocean floor, usually at depths of 20m or more, and include species such as dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper.

In total, more than 100 species are protected under the closure, all of which must be returned to the water as soon as possible if caught or landed recreationally.

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Some of the most popular demersal species caught in the South West include West Australian dhufish, pink snapper and breaksea cod, with Geographe Bay, Bunbury Artificial Reef and waters off Binningup proving popular with anglers.

Bunbury Fishing Club commodore Mick Hayes was in favour of the closure, citing it was the right thing to do.

“Why would you take breeding fish from the stock?” he said.

“We as a club are more strict on our members than fisheries ever are regarding catch regulations and safety.”

Mr Hayes went on to say that in the past the club had banned members for breaching regulations, bans and violating closures.

Fisheries spokesman for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Nathan Harrison said recreational fishers across the West Coast Bioregion generally abided by the seasonal fishing closure.

“Demersal species are highly sought after by recreational boat-based fishers in the South West,” he said.

“The high level of voluntary compliance reflects the fact that most fishers treat fish stocks with a sense of personal responsibility and stewardship.”

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