Jon Ford

Jon Ford

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

    New fishing rules for Pilbara and Kimberley zones

    29/08/2005 12:00 AM

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford has approved new bag and size limits to ensure a sustainable future for recreational fishers in the Pilbara and Kimberley.

    Launching the changes on the Minister’s behalf in Karratha, North West Coastal MLA Fred Riebeling said the new rules would apply to many popular species from January 1 next year.

    “This follows an extensive review of recreational fishing in response to the increasing pressure on all species,” Mr Riebeling said.

    “Since 1987, the number of recreational anglers has more than doubled in Western Australia, with an estimated 600,000 people going fishing every year.”

    Examples of new bag limits include red emperor two (currently eight); Spanish mackerel two (currently four) and giant threadfin salmon two (currently eight).

    The minimum legal size will change for a number of species including cobia 75 centimetres (currently no size limit) and giant threadfin salmon 45cm (currently no size limit). The size limits will apply to both recreational and commercial fishers.

    Mr Riebeling thanked the many anglers who contributed to the consultation process, which included public meetings in key regional centres and a review by an independent committee.

    The fishing strategy also uses the three-tier bag limit system - high, medium and low risk - which has been successfully adopted in other regions.

    Under the new system, each species is ranked in terms of its abundance, reproduction capacity and growth rates, and exposure to overfishing. The categories are:

    Category 1 - High risk
    Species that are generally slow growing and long-lived, maturing at four years or more. Includes red emperor, Spanish mackerel and giant threadfin salmon. Mixed daily bag limit seven.

    Category 2 - Medium risk
    Species that generally mature at two or three years and are often found in estuary and inshore habitats. Mixed daily bag limit 16.

    Category 3 - Low risk
    Species that mature at one or two years, including herring, garfish, sand whiting and mullet. Mixed daily bag limit 40.

    Mr Riebeling said the Gallop Government was determined to protect fish species for all anglers as part of its commitment to WA’s unique lifestyle and environment.

    Full details are available from the Fisheries Department or online at

    Minister's office: 9425 4200