With recreational fishing for demersals in the West Coast Bioregion reopening on 16 December, it’s important that all rec fishers keep playing their part to help the stocks recover. The resource is now halfway through a 20-year recovery plan, and while there are some early signs of recovery, there is still a long way to go until stocks have fully rebuilt.
If you catch your bag limit for demersal scalefish species such as dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, fish for other species to minimise the impact of fish dying post release.
Our research shows that catch and release fishing for demersal scalefish is not a sustainable fishing practice – they’re susceptible to barotrauma and if returned to the water, there’s a chance they won’t survive. So it’s important you either stop fishing once you’ve reached your bag limit, or target other species of fish on the surface or inshore.
‘High-grading’ (fishing for the same species after you’ve reached your bag or boat limit in an attempt to catch bigger fish) is not a responsible use of our fish resources and will slow down the stocks' recovery, and if you have already taken your daily bag limit, it will result in you exceeding it.
If you have to release a fish because it’s undersized, you can increase its chances of survival by using a release weight, handling the fish appropriately, and returning the fish to the water as soon as possible. Keep in mind that under the WA fishing rules, you must have a release weight on board if fishing for demersal scalefish in the West Coast Bioregion.
Find out more about how you can fish sustainably on our catch care page.