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Public Comment Sought on Snapper Closure Areas

19 February 2013

AUSTRALIA - After targeted initial consultation, and in a move to further safeguard Snapper stocks, PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture has released a proposal to introduce Snapper spatial closures for public consultation.

The proposed spatial closures encompass several Snapper spawning aggregation sites within Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent, which would be closed to Snapper fishing between November and January each year, when Snapper are known to aggregate in South Australian waters. This is a temporary management measure that would be reviewed on an annual basis.

The spatial closures proposal follows last year’s announcement of an extension to the annual state-wide Snapper fishing closure and the introduction of new management arrangements for commercial Snapper fishing, including lower daily allowable commercial catch limits and reductions in the number of hooks that can be used in the gulfs.

Executive Director for PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, Professor Mehdi Doroudi, said the spatial closures were vital to provide greater protection to South Australia’s iconic Snapper species.

“According to the most recent national stock assessment report and scientific evidence, South Australian Snapper stock in the Gulfs have been depleting over recent years,” Professor Doroudi said.

“This is based on scientific evidence that indicates poor recruitment over past years, prompting the need for us to act now to protect Snapper spawning grounds.

“Research has also identified that fishing activities in spawning grounds may disrupt Snapper spawning behaviour which further threatens reproductive success and the future sustainability of this important sector.

“The proposed spatial closures would minimise the disturbance to spawning aggregations by preventing fishers from targeting Snapper in selected spawning areas during a critical reproductive period.

“Ultimately this would promote future recruitment and assist in protecting the long-term sustainability of the fishery.”

A proposal document and regional socio-economic impact assessment have now been released, with public comment being sought for a six-week period until 2 April 2013.

TheFishSite News Desk

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