Recreational fishers will be prohibited from using drag nets in the Peel Harvey Estuary and its tributaries from late next week due to the impact on juvenile crab stocks.
The use of such nets will not be allowed from Friday, July 6.
Fisheries Minister Jon Ford said there had been serious concerns over the use of hand trawl nets.
“The nets have been used by people fishing for prawns but the impact on other species in the estuary, particularly undersize crabs, has led to the prohibition,” Mr Ford said.
“We have major concerns over the number of undersize crabs either taken this way or damaged by the nets.”
The Minister said that at a time when everything was being done to reduce the pressure on blue swimmer crab stocks in the Peel Harvey Estuary, the prohibition on the use of hand trawl (drag) nets was a sensible measure to take.
“This prohibition on drag nets will also apply to the Peel Estuary’s tributaries, including the Serpentine and Murray Rivers. Fishers will still be able to use hand dip nets to target school and king prawns in the estuary,” he said.
“Introducing these changes will ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy this iconic recreational activity.”
Mandurah MLA David Templeman said the latest initiative was part of a suite of precautionary management measures designed to provide increased protection for blue swimmer crabs in the Peel Harvey Estuary, while a dedicated $600,000 crab research project was being undertaken.
“There will also be a two-month closure to recreational and commercial crab fishing in the Peel Harvey Estuary between September 1 and October 31, 2007,” Mr Templeman said.
From November 1, 2007 daily bag limits for blue swimmer crabs will be reduced from 20 to 10 and the daily boat limit will be halved from 40 to 20 across the entire West Coast, to ensure sustainability of the stocks throughout the region.
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