Ex­tend ban to aid snap­per

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - NATHAN DAVIES

PRES­SURE is mount­ing for a longer snap­per clo­sure to pro­tect the pop­u­lar species from over­fish­ing dur­ing their spawn­ing sea­son.

How­ever, recre­ational fish­ers and Yorke Penin­sula Mayor Dar­ren Braund have warned a catch ban over sum­mer could have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on coastal tourism.

Fish­ers are cur­rently banned from catch­ing the pop­u­lar species from Novem­ber 1 to De­cem­ber 15 to give the fish a chance to com­plete their sum­mer breed­ing, but Ma­rine Fish­ers As­so­ci­a­tion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Nathan Bick­nell said that in many years spawn­ing was still oc­cur­ring af­ter the clo­sure lifted.

“You end up with a sit­u­a­tion where the sea­son opens in the mid­dle of the spawn­ing pe­riod,” he said.

“The fish are still all schooled up and ev­ery­one runs out and belts the crap out of them.”

Mr Bick­nell said the sci­en­tific ad­vice the MFA had re­ceived showed spawn­ing gen­er­ally con­tin­ued un­til the end of Jan­uary, de­pend­ing on wa­ter tem­per­a­tures and weather con­di­tions.

“We’d like to see the clo­sure ex­tended un­til the end of Jan­uary,” he said.

Only ar­eas of high spawn­ing ac­tiv­ity are cur­rently sub­ject to clo­sure un­til the end of Jan­uary ev­ery year.

Mr Bick­nell said snap­per num­bers had been de­clin­ing since 2000, par­tic­u­larly in Spencer Gulf which had ex­pe­ri­enced poor species re­cruit­ment in re­cent years.

“There’s been lit­tle in­com­ing and lots out­go­ing,” he said. Mr Bick­nell said an ex­tended clo­sure could re­sult in a catch re­duc­tion of be­tween 24 and 32 per cent for pro­fes­sional fish­ers, but that the long-term gain would out­weigh the short-term pain.

RecFish SA ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Danny Simp­son said a re­struc­tur­ing of SA’s ma­rine scale fish­ery would make more sense than an ex­tended snap­per clo­sure. “The ma­rine scale fish­ery is un­sus­tain­able in its cur­rent form,” he said. “We would sug­gest that they get on with the planned re­struc­ture. Ex­tend­ing the clo­sure over Christ­mas and New Year would have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the coastal com­mu­ni­ties that rely on peo­ple go­ing there to fish in the hol­i­day pe­riod.” Mr Braund said pro­tect­ing snap­per stocks should be a pri­or­ity, and that the fish was a very im­por­tant driver of tourism in the area.

“I would hope that the coun­cil would be con­sulted and that we would be al­lowed to have our say be­fore any changes were made,” he said.

Pri­mary In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Tim Whet­stone said in a state­ment that he had been lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns of both pro­fes­sional and recre­ational fish­ers, but stopped short of rec­om­mend­ing a clo­sure ex­ten­sion.

“South Aus­tralians their snap­per,” he said.

“They love to be able to buy it off a menu at a restau­rant, and recre­ational fish­ers en­joy chas­ing them. love

“Snap­per is an iconic species and man­age­ment changes will be needed in SA to en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the stock in the fu­ture.”

Mr Whet­stone said SARDI was cur­rently fi­nal­is­ing num­bers from the lat­est snap­per stock as­sess­ment.

“This re­port is ex­pected to in­di­cate fur­ther con­cerns about snap­per stocks in Spencer Gulf,” he said.

“My view is that po­ten­tially tough de­ci­sions will need to be made to se­cure the sus­tain­abil­ity of the fish­ery into the fu­ture.

“These tough de­ci­sions will nec­es­sar­ily im­pact both recre­ational fish­ers and the com­mer­cial sec­tor.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.