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Anglers set to cast as fishing ban is lifted

Zach RelphHarvey-Waroona Reporter

Anglers can again target prized demersal scalefish species when fishing the South West coastline, with the two-month West Coast Bioregion demersal ban ending on December 16.

The annual closure, which had been enforced since October 17 and was lifted on Friday, prohibited recreational fishers from keeping any sized demersal species caught, including dhufish and pink snapper.

During the ban, atleast five infringements and two warnings were issued to anglers in possession of demersal species.

One infringement occurred in the Peel region.

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“Compliance with the demersal closure generally appears to be high and well supported by recreational fishers,” Department of Fisheries strategic compliance manager Phil Shaw said.

“Continued patrols to carry out land and sea inspections have created a deterrent and contributed to the relatively low offence figures for the closure.”

The West Coast Bioregion extends from Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri, to Black Point, east of Augusta.

It is implemented each year to protect demersal species which are vulnerable from October to December when grouping together to reproduce.

Department principal management officer Martin Holtz said the closure guaranteed the future of the State’s demersal stocks.

“A 2007 stock assessment found that stocks of demersal scalefish species in the West Coast Bioregion were being overfished,” Mr Holtz said.

Dhufish and pink snapper — WA’s two most sought after demersal species — have respective bag limits of one fish per angler and two fish per angler.

Mr Shaw confirmed department officers would conduct random checks at sea and at boat ramps in the region to ensure anglers were abiding by size and bag limit rules throughout the summer.

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