Wednesday, April 24, 2024

DPIRD-led efforts boost Gascoyne oceanic pink snapper recovery


Oceanic pink snapper stocks in the Gascoyne region are on the road to recovery with management measures led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to boost stocks of the popular fish proving successful.

The Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Resource (GDSR) is five years into a 20-year recovery plan after a 2017 scientific stock assessment found oceanic pink snapper were at severe risk and action was needed.

Oceanic pink snapper and goldband snapper are used to indicate the health of the Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Resource which is comprised of more than 60 species.

A recovery plan was developed by a working group comprising of Recfishwest, Marine Tourism WA, WAFishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) to set out clear objectives, milestones and timeframes to recover the resource by 2037.

The key recovery measures adopted in the recovery plan include a reduced annual total catch limit for snapper to 100 tonnes (combined for recreational, charter and commercial fishers), targeted protection for key snapper spawning aggregations north of Bernier Island and a reduced commercial snapper size limit trial.

The recent stock assessment is a ‘health check’ on the recovery and shows oceanic pink snapper is on track to meet recovery milestones under current management measures.

“This is a really encouraging result after five years of recovery measures for Gascoyne pink snapper and demonstrates the importance and success of taking action to rebuild our fisheries to sustainable levels,” said Fisheries and Regional Development Minister, Don Punch.

“We recently took action under the recovery plan for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource, from Augusta to Kalbarri, and we are confident these management changes will also see this fishery on the road to recovery.

“The efforts of commercial, charter and recreational fishers play a key role in supporting the recovery plans and it is important that we to continue to work together to make sure we have plenty of fish for the future.”

The stock assessment also found that the goldband snapper, which is an indicator species for all other demersal species in the resource remained at a sustainable level.

DPIRD will be engaging with the working group to review the latest science against the recovery plan to provide recommendations to support the ongoing recovery of oceanic pink snapper in the Gascoyne region.

The next stock assessment to check the health of the fishery will be available in 2027.

For full details, read the Fisheries Science Update here.

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