Big changes this Spring for recreational fishers in Perth and the South West as the season brings in new blue swimmer crab and pink snapper protections.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Aquatic Resource Management director Nathan Harrison said these were among WA’s most sought after species.
“To ensure strong recruitment for the sustainability of both blue swimmers and pinkies, tighter management is necessary, so new seasonal protections apply from Sunday,” Mr Harrison said.
For blue swimmer crabs, a new closure to all waters from the Swan and Canning rivers south to Minninup Beach, about 15km from Bunbury, will apply to all fishers from September 1 1 until November 30 each year.
Geographe Bay will remain open to blue swimmer crabbing all year.
The annual closure will provide important resource level protection for blue swimmer breeding stocks at a time when the female crabs are mated and highly vulnerable.
When the season reopens on December 1, a new bag limit of five blue swimmers applies to recreational fishers in the Swan and Canning rivers.
This date will also mark the introduction of the limit of five females as part of the ten crab bag limit for blue swimmer crabs in Geographe Bay.
Bag limits for other areas, including the Peel Harvey Estuary, remain unchanged as will the existing boat limit of 20 blue swimmer crabs in the West Coast region.
Further measures to be implemented include; a buy back for commercial licences from oceanic crab fisheries leading to their permanent closure.
When it comes to the much loved pink snapper, Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds support the largest known spawning aggregations of pinkies in the West Coast Bioregion and are critical for sustaining adequate breeding stocks.
In response to the latest science and key stakeholders’ feedback, the closure area and timing have been extended to give spawning pink snapper more protection in and around the Sounds.
Pink snapper begin to migrate into the Sounds before the commencement of the traditional spawning closure and have been targeted by fishers, which has placed additional pressure on the stock.
Now running from September 1 to January 31, the closure also covers a larger area – which is extended north to Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and out to the eastern side of Five Fathom Bank.
Fishing for pink snapper, or being in possession of the species while line fishing, is prohibited in the closed area from September 1 to January 31.
However, pink snapper taken outside the closure area may be transported through the zone as long as no line fishing is undertaken.