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Changes to WA’s recreational fishing rules

Changes to Western Australian recreational fishing rules will come into effect on July 1, to help preserve the State’s valuable fish stocks for future generations.

The changes come in response to community concerns about the increase of recrational fishing across the state as more fishers hit the water amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) worked with Recfishwest to introduce changes, which are expected to provide greater protection to WA’s demersal fish species, while ensuring recreational fishers are able enjoy quality fishing experiences.

Department Offshore Finfish manager Clinton Syers said demersal scalefish were typically long living and slow growing, making them highly vulnerable to increased fishing pressure, particularly near popular tourist centres.

“The changes to the rules are aimed at providing increased protection for demersal scalefish, and encouraging fishers to target other less vulnerable species,” Mr Syers said.

“The main change relates to possession limits for finfish fillets.

“Under the revised rules, within the possession limit of 20kg of finfish fillets while on a fishing trip, any fillets exceeding 10kg must now only be from large pelagic species such as mackerel, tuna and shark, with the skin attached. 

“This effectively limits people to a trip possession limit of 10kg of demersal scalefish fillets, which still provides a generous feed of fish for a person and their family.

“The rules around possession limits at a person’s home remain unchanged.”

Other rule changes include the removal of the 30cm minimum fillet length for fish filleted at sea, however, any fillets must still have the skin attached for species identification purposes. 

For ease of storage, large pelagic species can now be cut into two pieces but still considered as one fish for possession limit purposes. 

Recreational and charter skippers fishing for demersal scalefish by line anywhere in the State must be in possession of a release weight, which are designed to maximise the survival of released fish.

Mr Syers said sustainable proactive management of our fishery resources will help to maintain quality fishing experiences for current and future generations.

The rules changes will be reviewed after 12 months.

All the information on the State’s recreational fishing rule changes can be found on the department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au/recfishing

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