Pink snap­per stocks worry

Fremantle Gazette - - OPINION - Jon Bassett

THE po­ten­tial ef­fects a new outer har­bour near Hen­der­son could have on re­bound­ing pink snap­per stocks has some recre­ational fish­ers wor­ried.

“Do you re­alise that’s where the snap­per breed, be­tween the Aus­tralian Marine Com­plex AMC in Hen­der­son and the bulk han­dling fa­cil­ity south, and you’re go­ing to de­stroy that?” snap­per fisher John Don­nelly said at a pub­lic meet­ing about a new port in Kwinana re­cently.

Pink snap­per are slow-grow­ing and their pop­u­la­tions are thought to be vul­ner­a­ble to “boom and bust” breed­ing years.

Be­cause of this, the Sound has an an­nual closed sea­son be­tween Oc­to­ber and Fe­bru­ary and the De­part­ment of Fish­eries stud­ies the pop­u­la­tion us­ing do­nated skele­tons.

A spokesman said it was not pos­si­ble to com­ment on the port be­cause its lo­ca­tion, size, op­er­a­tions and tim­ing had not been de­ter­mined.

The State Gov­ern­ment’s West­port Task­force is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the freight and lo­gis­tics needs of Perth and the South West, in­clud­ing any new har­bour and its en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, be­fore a re­port at the end of next year.

Task­force com­mu­nity ref­er­ence group mem­ber and recre­ational fish­ing lobby Rec­fish­west may have to com­ment on dif­fer­ent snap­per breed­ing sites each year and the im­pact of any mooted new 22.5m-deep ship­ping chan­nel for the port’s two po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions, both of which are about 2km from some snap­per ag­gre­ga­tions.

“The breed­ing varies in dif­fer­ent parts of the sound de­pend­ing on the con­di­tions, but our con­cern will be on how any de­vel­op­ment will im­pact the near-shore fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of fish­ers,” Rec­fish­west op­er­a­tions man­ager Ley­land Camp­bell said.

Fish­ers are wor­ried that a new port in Fre­man­tle will have an ad­verse ef­fect on pink snap­per stocks.

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