Snapper back on line

Friday March 05, 2021

Published by The Border Watch

By Raquel Mustillo

THE Limestone Coast will be the only area in South Australia anglers can target snapper, with new bag and boat limits coming into effect this week.

A bag limit of two snapper per person and a boat limit of six snapper when three or more people are fishing on the boat will apply under new arrangements for South East waters.

Snapper catches must be reported via the SA Fishing app or by calling Fishwatch on 1800 065 522.

Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has praised the State Government for overturning the former control measures for snapper fishing, which comprised of a tagged system providing just 303 anglers from the Limestone Coast, Murray Bridge and Kangaroo Island areas a limited number of tags to catch the species in South East waters.

Mr Bell, who was vehemently opposed to the management system, tabled a petition in parliament with almost 400 signatures to axe the snapper tag system and implement a bag limit for the fishery.

At the time, the independent MP said a report used to justify the current snapper management scheme, which found South Australia's snapper stocks were "decimated", did not consider the unique marine environment in the region.

Mr Bell told The Border Watch he was pleased the government considered the science - which showed snapper stocks in South East waters come from Victoria - and reversed the decision.

"Our snapper stocks come from Port Phillip Bay and migrate west, but the studies they were relying on was up in the gulf regions," he said.

"The government was also worried the closures in the gulf would mean the fishers who would normally target snapper in those areas would come to the Limestone Coast and decimate the fishery here.

"The issue with that is you can't get out on the water most days. "If people want to drive down 400km and drop a line in the water, I think that's great, but there will be some days they come down where they can't go out." Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said of the five snapper tags distributed to the 606 anglers across the state just 452 snapper were caught in the South East.

Mr Basham said this year's recreational allocation of 1077 snapper until June 30, 2021 was more than double the actual recreational catch from last year.

If the recreational allocation of snapper is caught before June 30, the recreational snapper fishery will be closed.