Catch! - Recreational fishing news from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia
Issue No. 36, March 2018

Safety first when salmon fishing

Looking down on a large school of salmon with a shark nearby

Western Australia’s autumn salmon run is almost here and water users are urged to take care. Schools of salmon are commonly spotted, between early-mid March and late April, along our South and West coasts.

While the annual event is keenly anticipated by recreational fishers, the schools of fish can also attract larger predators, including dolphins, seals, sea lions and a range of shark species.

Fishers should also be aware that it’s safer to fish for salmon from the beach, rather than coastal rocks. If fishers do decide to fish from rock ledges, precautions should be taken, including using life jackets and adhering to local warnings. More.

Catch snapshot shows strong recreational fishing stewardship

A recreational fisher fishing from a small boat

Recfishers have been applauded for their participation in WA's third recreational boat fishing survey – the most comprehensive of its kind in Australia, with almost 6,000 fishers taking part.

The Statewide survey indicates there was a high level of compliance with the fishing rules, with recreational fishers demonstrating a strong sense of stewardship for fish stocks.

The latest snapshot shows an estimated 680,000 blue swimmer crabs were fished in 12 months, making it the most caught species. School whiting was the most captured finfish, followed by herring, pink snapper and dhufish. More.

Rebuilding Gascoyne pink snapper stocks

A fisher holds a large pink snapper

Recreational and commercial fishers are invited to have their say on a proposal to protect oceanic pink snapper stocks in a key spawning area off the Gascoyne coast.

The proposal suggests closing an area to pink snapper fishing north of Bernier Island, approximately 50 kilometres off the coast from Carnarvon, during the peak spawning period from 1 June to 31 August.

This follows recent stock assessments that have raised concerns over the low level of juvenile recruitment and fishing practices that target the main spawning aggregations. More.

Fishers stick to the marron rules

Close up of a smooth marron showing its claws

Our Fisheries officers have reported a successful marron fishing season with only a minority of fishers breaking the rules.

The four-week season saw lots of large marron legally caught by licensed fishers across the South West, with the Albany region and Harvey and Wellington dams proving to be particularly popular.

Overall, there was a decrease in illegal marron fishing with 68 marron related fishing offences recorded, the most common offence being fishing out of season. More.

Don’t high grade your catch

Baldchin groper on a reef

High grading is when fishers continue to fish for the same species after reaching their bag limit. Any larger fish caught are then swapped with the smallest fish, which are either discarded or used as bait.

You can play your part in protecting demersal scalefish stocks by either stopping fishing once you’ve reached your bag limit or by targeting other species of fish. More.

Sharing bag limits on boats

A herring swimming above a sandy ocean floor

New regulations are being drafted that will allow recreational fishers to share bag limits when fishing from boats – including legally sharing the catch from rock lobster pots.

This change is aimed at simplifying the rules and it is anticipated the new regulations will be in place by mid-2018. More.

Get the most out of your finfish

A cutting board with several fillets laid on top

With fish ‘wings’ and backbones excluded from the Statewide possession limit of fillets, recfishers can make the most of the entire fish and donate the frames to our Send Us Your Skeletons program.

The finfish possession limit is 20 kilograms, except at the Abrolhos Islands where it is 10 kilograms. More.