Snapper in WA get the help they need
COCKBURN Sound is home to the largest and most important pink snapper spawning aggregations on the lower west coast of Western Australia.
In 2001, recreational fishers played an instrumental role in implementing a snapper spawning closure in Cockburn Sound. The initial closure occurred for a 6-week period, which was later extended to 2.5 months and then to 4 months, in order to provide the greatest protection to spawning fish.
Following last year’s pink snapper spawning season in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds, Recfishwest held concerns over the effectiveness of the current rules in providing adequate protection for spawning snapper. Recfishwest subsequently asked the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to provide an update on current research, which was supplied in July.
This Fisheries research update indicates that:
- There are fewer older snapper in the south-west/metro population than there should be
- There are a limited number of age classes in the population
- Pink snapper in spawning condition begin to gather in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds in August and September; and
- Evidence suggests that fishers are actively targeting pre-spawning fish as they make their way to the spawning grounds.
As a result, Recfishwest proposed the following:
- An extension to the current spawning closure period to include September (currently October to January),
- An extension to the current closure area to outside of Garden and Carnac Islands
On July 12, Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly provided his support for the Recfishwest proposal to increase protection for spawning snapper in and around Cockburn Sound.
"We believe these measures will provide adequate protection to spawning fish whilst still letting fishers catch pink snapper on the Five Fathom Bank and along the rock groynes at Fremantle," said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.
"The Cockburn Sound pink snapper spawning aggregations are the largest and most important on the lower west coast. The breeding success of these fish is critical to maintain the future of snapper across the region."
"The right time to do the right thing is right now and we’re pleased to see these measures introduced immediately."
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