WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development science shows slow recovery of demersal scalefish stocks

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THE latest scientific stock assessment of pink snapper and dhufish stocks from Kalbarri to Augusta has found the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource is not recovering fast enough to safeguard the sustainability of these prized fish.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) fisheries scientists have completed three major stock assessments focussing on pink snapper and dhufish since 2010 to monitor stock recovery.

This followed a period of overfishing that resulted in recreational and commercial catches being reduced by 50 per cent in 2010 as part of a 20-year recovery plan.

Current management arrangements have successfully halted the decline in dhufish and pink snapper stock, but there has been limited recovery of these species.

In July this year, DPIRD released the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource Harvest Strategy, developed by representatives from DPIRD, Recfishwest, Marine Tourism WA, WA Fishing Industry Council and commercial and recreational fishers.

The strategy outlines the agreed objectives, milestones, timeframes and control rules to ensure the recovery of the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource.

Recfishwest, WA's recreational fishing peak body, CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said: “The vast majority of fishers care passionately about these special fish and will agree, the sustainability of the fish must always come first.

“Recfishwest will be playing our part in ensuring this is the fundamental consideration when reviewing the stock assessment.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the stock recovery happens within the timeframe of the original recovery plan by 2030," Dr Rowland said.

A reference group comprising government and peak industry body representatives will meet and review the latest stock assessment against the recovery targets within the Harvest Strategy and provide advice on appropriate management responses for further consultation.

For more information: www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-primary-industries-and-regional-development

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