New Management Measures For Snapper
From 1 November 2019 new management measures will be introduced to achieve long-term improvement and return the Snapper fishery to sustainable stock levels.
These measures have been introduced following consideration of the latest available science and feedback from all stakeholders.
What is changing?
- Total Snapper closure will apply to waters in the West Coast, Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent regions from 00:01 hrs on 1 November 2019 to 23:59 hrs on 31 January 2023.
- Annual seasonal Snapper closure will apply to waters in the South East region from 00:01 hrs 1 November to 23:59 hrs 31 January 2023.
- During the closures, the targeting, take and/or possession of Snapper will be prohibited in these waters. $315 on-the-spot fines or, if prosecuted, a maximum penalty of $20,000 may apply.
- Accidentally hooked Snapper caught while fishing for other species must be carefully handled to immediately return it to the water. Catch and release fishing is strictly prohibited.
- For the remainder of the year, the South East region will be open to fishing. However, to ensure protection of the South East Snapper stock, a total allowable catch (TAC) will be set and shared between all fishing sectors – commercial, recreational and charter. If the TAC is reached, the fishery will be closed.
Specific charter and recreational fishing restrictions
In addition to the closures, the following measures will apply to charter and recreational fishers:
- A total allowable recreational catch (TARC) will be set for the South East region from 1 February to 31 October each year. When the TARC is caught, the fishery will be closed to recreational and charter activities.
- The TARC will be set based on a scientific assessment of the maximum sustainable yield from this stock. From this total allowable catch, the proportional catch shares taken by the recreational and charter fishing sectors will be maintained at 18%.
- During the open season, increased management restrictions and appropriate compliance and monitoring will be undertaken in South East waters to ensure any shift in effort is controlled and does not jeopardise the health of the South East Snapper stock.
- A system to trial the use of Snapper recreational harvest tags will be developed and trialled in the South East. The number of tags will be limited to ensure the total recreational catch is constrained to within the TARC. During the trial, the recreational and charter catch of Snapper in the South East will no longer be managed by current bag and boat limits, but through the tag system instead. Size limits will still apply.
- Before a recreational fisher can target Snapper, they will be required to have a recreational harvest tag. Any legal-sized Snapper caught will have to be tagged upon capture. Full details on the harvest tag system will be released prior to the fishery opening on 1 February 2020.
- When the South East fishery reopens on 1 February 2020, recreational fishers will be required to use methods to maximise the survival of releasing Snapper, including using release weights.