13 December 2012
Fishers are reminded that the snapper fishery opens to all sectors at midday on Saturday 15 December.
It follows an extended closure to commercial fishing, which has been in place since 1 November, and a 15-day period of reduced snapper bag and boat limits for recreational and charter fishers since 30 November.
Director Operations at PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, Peter Dietman, thanked fishers for their co-operation during the closure.
“Fisheries officers were pleased with the level of compliance from all sectors during this year’s closure period,” Mr Dietman said.
“Together with the reduced bag and boat limits, the closure has been effective in reducing fishing pressure on snapper stocks during a critical reproductive period.”
With recreational fishing limits returning to normal this Saturday, Mr Dietman also encouraged fishers not to target snapper once daily bag and boat limits have been reached.
“Many fish species, snapper included, can be subject to the effects of ‘barotrauma’ – a condition caused by an expansion of gases in the organs which results from rapid changes in water pressure as fish are pulled to the surface,” he said.
“Given the high mortality rates of snapper in these circumstances, we urge fishers to turn their focus to other species once daily fishing limits are reached.”
With the reopening of the commercial snapper fishery, commercial fishers will now need to comply with new management arrangements, including lower limits on the daily allowable commercial catch and reductions in the number of hooks that can be used in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.
PIRSA is also undertaking work to investigate the implementation of snapper Spatial Spawning Closures to further protect snapper stocks in coming years.
Workshops are currently being held with stakeholders to gather information on the economic and social impacts of proposed closure areas.
A regional socio-economic impact assessment is also being undertaken and will be followed by a public consultation period in early 2013.
Recreational fishers who are unsure about the rules that apply to snapper fishing, can send a free text message to SMSFISH on 0427 767 995 to receive an immediate response listing the official size, bag and boat limit.
Alternatively, information is available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries or by calling the 24-hour FISHWATCH hotline on 1800 065 522.