AUSTRALIA - Seasonal closures to commercial Garfish fishing in South Australia came into force at noon on 16 May, in a move to promote the recovery of Southern Garfish stocks.
The closures have been developed in close co-operation with industry, and will see closures to all commercial Southern Garfish fishing in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent during separate 40 day periods, between 16 May and 7 August.
The commercial take of Southern Garfish will not be permitted in Spencer Gulf between 16 My and June 28 (including the existing June long weekend closure that applies to all haul net fishing in State waters), and in Gulf St Vincent between June 29 and August.
In addition, fishers using haul net gear will be required to nominate a single gulf to fish in for the entire duration of the two closures.
The closures will have no impact on recreational fishing for Garfish, however fishers should remember that bag and boat limits apply at all times.
Acting Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said the measures are necessary to help build up Southern Garfish stocks.
“Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) has been working closely with the Marine Fishers Association (MFA) in a joint Garfish Working Group to develop new management arrangements aimed at protecting Southern Garfish stocks,” said Minister Gago.
“This is a very good example of what can be achieved through co-management, with everyone working together to ensure the future sustainability of our fisheries. I congratulate the MFA on being so proactive in suggesting ways for the fishery to be managed to protect Garfish stocks.”
One of the key recommendations from the Garfish Working Group was establishing closure periods in both Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.
“This is expected to achieve the first of a series of important management goals aimed at decreasing the commercial fishing effort for Southern Garfish in order to reduce the harvest fraction taken by the fishery,” said Minister Gago.
Chair of the MFA, Mike Fooks, said the Association believed it was important to be proactive and work closely with the Government to promote stock recovery for Garfish.
“The MFA congratulates our members in coming up with a solution,” Mr Fooks said.
“It is essential that steps are taken now to protect the long term health of Southern Garfish stocks and safeguard the economic benefits of our fishery into the future.
“The closure of the gulfs at separate times will ensure continuity of supply of South Australian Garfish to local consumers.”
TheFishSite News Desk