Snapper fishing loophole shut

Thursday January 09, 2020

Published by The Border Watch 


Recreational anglers targeting snapper in Victoria to circumnavigate the strict new control measures will be committing an offence if they return to South Australia with snapper on board their vessel.

Under the State Government’s trial, recreational fishers will not be permitted to transit through a snapper closed area if they have snapper on board their vessel.

Snapper fishing is currently banned in all South Australian waters in an attempt to combat the decrease in species populations in Gulf St Vincent and the Spencer Gulf.

Controlled fishing will open in South East waters - which is defined as waters south of Kangaroo Island’s Vennachar Point - on February 1 until October 31, 2020.

Primar y Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the partial closure would help the recovery of stocks in the Gulfs and West Coast and safeguard against overfishing.

While the minimum size limit of 38cm will apply, no catch and release fishing will be permitted.

Anglers will be required to use a release-weight when fishing to release undersized snapper.

The recently announced system will provide 606 randomly chosen recreational fishers who wish to target snapper in the South East region with tags.

However, Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell labelled the ballot and tag system - which will only allow fishermen to take five snapper - as a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

Despite referring to the new system as “onerous” for recreational fishers, the independent MP said the tag system would protect South East snapper stocks from decimation.

Mr Bell previously lambasted the State Government’s proposal to ban snapper fishing in South East waters, saying the current level of snapper fishing in the region rendered any closure unnecessary.

But he has since discussed the issue with Mr Whetstone, who said the decision followed a recommendation from the Snapper Management Advisory Committee. “ The new Management Snapper Advisory Committee has expert advice from both commercial and recreational fishers and fishery scientists,” Mr Bell said.

“The tag system will give opportunity for the species to still be caught whilst also protecting Limestone Coast snapper stocks.

“It is my belief that one aim of this process is to ensure that our area is not over fished for snapper whilst other areas of the state are banned from snapper fishing for the next three years.”