- Survey shows rock lobster is now the most-caught species by recreational fishers
- Knowing what is caught by all sectors is vital in developing management strategies
- Recfishing contributes $2.4 billion annually to WA's economy
Until now, Western Australia's regular comprehensive survey on what recreational fishers are catching around the State has revealed the blue swimmer crab as king.
But the results of the latest research reveals that another crustacean has taken the crown - the western rock lobster.
The WA Recreational Boat Fishing Survey is produced every two years and the latest 12 months of data, taken from 2017-18, reveals that an estimated 695,000 western rock lobsters were caught by boat fishers - making it WA's most-caught species for recfishers.
Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) also found that an estimated 667,000 blue swimmer crabs were caught, making it the second most popular species for boat-based fishers.
The rise of rock lobsters in the survey's findings follows a series of good recruitment years and effective resource management by DPIRD, in partnership with the commercial and recfishing sectors.
This in turn has led to an abundance of rock lobsters and greater participation by recfishers who are now able to fish for lobster all year round.
School whiting was the most popular finfish (259,000), followed by Australian herring (121,000) and pink snapper (116,000).
The survey is based on State-wide data and shows most boat fishing is done in the West Coast Bioregion, between Augusta and Kalbarri.
These updates on what recreational fishers catch, along with the annual commercial and charter fishing catches, is an important tool in developing effective management strategies for the resources' sustainability.
For more on the latest Recreational Boat Fishing Survey, which also has details of what's released by recfishers, see the Catch! facts summary at http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley:
"This fishing survey captured more than 1.15 million boat fishing hours and clearly demonstrates that recreational fishing is a huge part of the WA lifestyle.
"Funds raised through recreational licence fees are ploughed back into the sector to help improve recreational fishing.
"For example, more than 135,000 boat fishing licences were issued in 2017-18. Funding for this survey was sourced from recreational licence fees.
"In these challenging times it is important to remember that WA supports a variety of world class fishing opportunities, which are made possible through comprehensive research and management programs.
"COVID-19 restrictions require Western Australians to not undertake non-essential travel - this includes recreational fishing trips.
"Fishing locally where you live can be enjoyed, provided participants observe the social distancing protocol of keeping a minimum 1.5 metres apart, which is one of the important measures to keep the community safe.
"When we come out the other side of COVID-19, I'm sure many people will be looking forward to once again returning to many regional locations and wetting a line and spending time with family and friends."
Minister's office - 6552 5300