AUSTRALIA - Fishers are reminded the statewide closure for Snapper fishing in South Australia will begin at midday on Saturday 1 November 2014.
The closure will run from 12 noon on Saturday 1 November through to 12 noon on Monday 15 December for all fishing sectors. All fishers are prohibited from targeting and taking snapper during this period.
The annual closure is an important fisheries management measure in place to protect South Australian Snapper stocks during a critical reproductive period.
In recent years, stock assessments for Snapper have shown that the level of fishing pressure in Spencer Gulf is too high, with the stock classified as ‘transitional depleting’. While Snapper stocks in Gulf St Vincent are classified as 'sustainable', ongoing management is required to ensure the long term health of the fishery.
PIRSA Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, Sean Sloan, said the annual closure was vital to protect the State’s Snapper fishery.
“Snapper is a South Australian species prized by all fishing sectors and brings economic, social and tourism benefits to a number of coastal fishing communities,” said Mr Sloan.
“The annual closure was extended by 15 days in 2013 to increase protection for spawning aggregations from disturbance caused by fishing.
“The closure extension commenced for the commercial industry in 2012 and for recreational and charter boat fishers in 2013.
“During the closure Snapper must not be targeted, including targeted catch and release activities and any Snapper caught unintentionally must be carefully and immediately released and returned to the water.”
Snapper come together annually to spawn in South Australian waters between November and January, and these aggregations can be disturbed by fishing activities, which may affect their behaviour and ultimately impact on the success of this important reproductive period.
Five further smaller-scale spatial closures, which applied immediately following the statewide closure from 15 December 2013 to 30 January 2014 are currently being reviewed by PIRSA in consultation with key stakeholders. Further information will be provided on the spawning spatial closures following this review.
Fisheries Officers will conduct regular patrols and inspections during the annual closure to monitor fishing activity both on land and at sea. Members of the public are encouraged to report suspicious or illegal fishing behavior to FISHWATCH on 1800 065 522. Callers can remain anonymous.
TheFishSite News Desk