Jon Ford

Jon Ford

Minister for Employment Protection; Regional Development; Fisheries; the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne

    Minister Ford encourages debate on how to save iconic fish species

    19/09/2007 8:32 PM

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford has today called on Western Australians to engage in debate about the future of recreational fishing for demersal scalefish, such as dhufish and pink snapper that are under threat.

    The Minister’s call follows Monday’s release of a discussion paper that highlights the need for a more effective management strategy for recreational fishing of demersal scalefish along the West Coast Bioregion. This region of the coast is between Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri, and Black Point, near Augusta.

    Demersal scalefish are bottom-dwelling fish such as dhufish, baldchin groper and pink snapper. These species are predominantly found in deeper offshore waters and are targeted by boat fishers.

    Demersal scalefish do not include herring, whiting or any other similar species caught in inshore waters such as beaches, jetties or groynes.

    Mr Ford said the discussion paper was released as part of a new ‘fishing management package’ that would secure fish for the future in WA by preserving key demersal scalefish.

    He said the package included new research that showed stocks of Western Australia’s iconic demersal scalefish such as dhufish, baldchin groper and pink snapper would collapse within four to five years if action was not taken.

    Commercial fishers were also a focus of the package, with commercial line and gillnet commercial fishers being banned from the Metropolitan Fishing Zone, between Lancelin and south of Mandurah.

    Another part of the package was the announcement of interim measures that would affect predominantly recreational fishers throughout the State. These measures would be put in place until a long-term management strategy for recreational fishing of demersal scalefish was finalised next year.

    The Minister said the discussion paper, ‘Managing the Recreational Catch of Demersal Scalefish on the West Coast’, marked the beginning of a process to develop this long-term management strategy.

    “The discussion paper includes some possible options as a starting point for debate. They are only some of the options that people can consider and will not necessarily form part of the final recommendations to be released for public comment early next year,” he said.

    “Recreational fishers in WA are to be commended for the way they have supported the existing management system based on bag and size limits but it’s clear that the problems we now face require new and innovative solutions.

    “The release of this discussion paper for public comment provides an opportunity for Western Australians to express their views on how recreational fishing for demersal species should be managed in the future.

    “While I encourage a broad ranging debate, let’s be clear that the debate is about demersal scalefish and not fish such as herring or whiting.

    “I look forward to receiving people’s ideas as we move towards a better management system that will ensure that our grandkids can fish for these iconic fish in the future,” he said.

    A series of public meetings to discuss the future of recreational fishing of demersal scalefish along the West Coast Bioregion will be held next month and copies of the discussion paper can be obtained from Department of Fisheries or viewed online at

    The closing date for submissions on the discussion paper is November 16, 2007.

    Submissions should be sent to: Recreational Fishing Review, Department of Fisheries, Locked Bag 39, Cloisters Square Post Office, Perth, WA, 6850. Alternatively, submissions can be entered online by visiting the Department of Fisheries’ website at

    Minister's office - 9213 7200