Fishers back chasing denizens of the deep

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Binningup woman Sam Ashworth reeled in this 21kg monster off the coast of her home town.
Camera IconBinningup woman Sam Ashworth reeled in this 21kg monster off the coast of her home town. Credit: Supplied

South West anglers have returned to their favourite fishing grounds in the wake of the seasonal closure on West Coast demersal finfish ending last month.

More than 100 species were protected under the closure, all of which were required be returned to the water as soon as possible if caught recreationally.

Demersal finfish typically dwell on or near the ocean floor, and are usually found at depths of 20m or more.

The closure applied to the entire West Coast Bioregion with the ban designed to reduce the amount of fish being taken by limiting the total time that anglers are able to spend fishing.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development acting Mid West compliance manager Dan Oswald said recreational fishers generally complied with the annual closure.

“Between Black Point, near Augusta, and the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri, there were only nine cases of fishers breaching the closure by catching or possessing a demersal species or bringing one onto land,” he said.

“A review of the data showed that all of the offences occurred in the southern half of the closed zone, from Rockingham to Busselton, and the infringement fines for each of the offences was $400.

“It appears that recreational anglers, in most cases, are abiding by the rules around the demersal finfish closure.”

Harvey Districts Water Sports Association commodore Ken Upton said no infringements were issued within the association and he supported the initiative.

“I’m still happy with the fishing bans, I think the demersal seasons work,” he said.

“All our club members abide by the rules, and if they don’t they’re no longer members.”

Mr Oswald said the closures were aimed at reducing the recreational take of demersal finfish species so future generations could enjoy the sport.

Two giant dhufish have already been landed by local anglers, with a 21kg specimen caught off of Binningup and a 24.4kg dhuie caught off the coast of Bunbury earlier this month.

Bunbury man Harley Kemp battled for 15 minutes to bring in this huge 24.4kg ‘donkey’ of a ‘dhuie.’
Camera IconBunbury man Harley Kemp battled for 15 minutes to bring in this huge 24.4kg ‘donkey’ of a ‘dhuie.’ Credit: Supplied

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