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A report to the Minister for Fisheries prepared by the West Coast and Gascoyne Management Planning Panel.

FOREWORD

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

The framework should also allow for the option of spatial closures, temporary closures, or sub-zones as required to address management issues (such as preventing localized depletion of key species). These catches are recommended for the purpose of initial allocation only and should be reviewed on a regular basis). Boats operating under this arrangement should be prohibited from landing demersal species targeted in the West Coast demersal scallop fishery.

The maximum number of handlines and droplines on board a boat in the South West Zone shall be the number of lines nominated for use at the time (and be less than the prescribed maximum). The buoy must be marked with the vessel's LFB number, in letters at least six centimeters high and one centimeter wide. Exceptions to this should be made when applying for permits for processing at sea and carefully assessed on their merits.

Further definitions of permitted gear should be developed in consultation with those anglers who have access to inshore fishing. Consideration should be given to formalizing these levels as 'tipping points' for future management actions.

REVIEW PROCESS

M ANAGEMENT P LANNING P ANEL - TERMS OF REFERENCE

M ANAGEMENT P LANNING P ANEL MEMBERSHIP

Members Mr Doug Rogers Fisher Trader Mr Steve Lodge Commercial Processor Mr Neil Dorrington Commercial Fisher Mr Gary Finlay Fisher Commercial Mr Norman Halse Recreational Fisherman Dr Lindsay Joll Department of Fisheries Observers1 Dr Nic Dunlop WA Conservation Council.

C ONSULTATION

Advertisements were placed in The West Australian (on 12 and 13 September 2003), the Geraldton Guardian, Northern Guardian explaining the review and inviting all interested persons to submit initial written comments on matters that the panels should consider as part of the review. and the Augusta-Margaret River Mail (on September 17, 2003) and the Bunbury/South West Times (on September 18, 2003). Information about the assessment was posted on the Department of Fisheries website, including an invitation to provide an initial written contribution in September 2003. website, with a direct link to the Ministry of Fisheries website in September 2003.

A letter dated 26 September 2003 to all peak sector trade associations, including professional fishermen's associations, explaining the review and inviting initial written comments on matters they believe the panel should consider as part of the review. Posters about the review, released in early October 2003, were posted in all regional and district offices of the Ministry of Fisheries, as well as major fish processing plants. Also, the same posters were displayed at meetings of the annual Rock Lobster Coastal Tour during the week of October 13, 2003.

Meetings held in Dongara, Geraldton, Kalbarri and Carnarvon by the Commercial Access Panel in February 2004 providing an opportunity for interested associations and individuals to provide their views to the Panel on issues such as access and allocation. Information sessions hosted by the Department of Fisheries, facilitated by WAFIC, were held in Jurien Bay, Dongara, Geraldton, Fremantle, Mandurah, Bunbury, Augusta, Albany, Kalbarri, Carnarvon and Ledge Point during the submission period.

BACKGROUND

  • W HAT IS ‘ WETLINING ’?
  • T YPES OF ‘ WETLINING ’
  • P ROFILE OF DEMERSAL LINE FISHING ACTIVITY IN THE W EST C OAST BIOREGION
  • K EY ISSUES FOR MANAGEMENT
    • Status of West Coast demersal scalefish stocks
    • Highly variable levels of wetlining activity
    • High latent effort
    • Potential mobility of commercial fleet
    • Accuracy of catch returns
    • Cost of management

An FBL is sometimes referred to by commercial fishermen as a "west coast open license" or. 3 New recreational limits were introduced for the West Coast and Gascoyne bioregions on 1 October 2003, which included revised baggage limits and a possession limit of 20 kg. A line fishery targeting deep/reef fish species such as and.

An inshore net fishery targeting species such as mullet, herring and whiting (in the .. open access area north of the Moore River)5 called the West Coast Inshore Net Fishery. A line fishery targeting demersal/reef scalefish species called the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery; And. A total of 506 FBLs reported a wetline capture of demersal species in the west coast region during the period (Table 1).

5 Coastal nets south of the Moore River are operated by the West Coast Beach Bait and Fish Net Fishery. A catch survey conducted in 1996-97 on the West Coast estimated that recreational fishermen caught approximately 132 tons of dhufish (46 percent of the total catch), 27 tons of pink snapper (10.5 percent of the total catch), and 23 tons of baldchin groper (44 percent of total catch). The Gascoyne and West Coast Regional Recreational Assessments led to changes in recreational fishery management (including lower bag limits and the introduction of a shellfish ownership limit).

A number of other major fisheries assessments have been completed in recent years, including the implementation of management for the charter boat sector, an assessment of the commercial mackerel fishery, assessments of the South Coast and West Coast commercial estuarine fisheries, and the development of an Aboriginal fishery. management strategy. According to State of the Fisheries 2003-04, stocks of important demersal shellfish are already fully exploited in the West Coast bioregion. About half of the FBLs who reported wetlining from 1990-91 to 2002-2003 in the West Coast bioregion reported less than a ton of demersal wetline catch and about half of them took even less than 300 kg of demersal wetline catch.

Although around 250 boats moor on the West Coast each year, potentially any one of the 1,350 FBLs in WA could choose to moor in this region. The submissions indicate concern that a reduced beach price for rock lobster, or changes to rock lobster management arrangements, could lead to an increased number of boats getting wet on the West Coast. MFL fees for the West Coast Demersal Fish Fishery will, at least initially, be set based on a small percentage of the fishery's GVP, as with all small commercial fisheries.

Table 1  Demersal wetline catch and the number of boats reporting wetline catch in the  West Coast bioregion from 1990-91 to 2002-03
Table 1 Demersal wetline catch and the number of boats reporting wetline catch in the West Coast bioregion from 1990-91 to 2002-03

WEST COAST DEMERSAL SCALEFISH FISHERY

  • O BJECTIVES FOR MANAGEMENT
  • F ISHERY BOUNDARIES
  • M ANAGEMENT ZONES
  • I NDIVIDUAL T RANSFERABLE E FFORT MANAGEMENT
  • I NDIVIDUAL T RANSFERABLE E FFORT UNITS
  • S ETTING THE T ARGET C OMMERCIAL C ATCH
  • D ETERMINING AN APPROPRIATE C ATCH P ER U NIT E FFORT (CPUE)
  • I NITIAL CALCULATION OF EFFORT DAYS
  • O NGOING REVIEW OF EFFORT UNITS
  • V ESSEL M ONITORING S YSTEM (VMS)
  • N OMINATION TO FISH
  • P ERMITTED FISHING METHODS
  • P ROCESSING AT SEA
  • T AKE OF SHARK
  • R ESEARCH REQUIREMENTS FOR W EST C OAST DEMERSAL SCALEFISH STOCKS

The Panel acknowledges that there are large differences within areas of the West Coast region, both in the species composition of catches and in average catch rates. Therefore, the Panel believes it is necessary to establish a number of management areas within the West Coast Demersal Fish Fishery. On this basis, the Panel does not recommend a separate zone for the Abrolhos, but believes it is important for the Department of Fisheries to address this reporting issue so that catch levels and the need for zoning in the Abrolhos can be reviewed in the future.

The panel therefore believes that it is important that the management framework has the capacity to manage the distribution of fishing effort in the region. The panel recommends an ITE management system due to the multispecies nature of the fishery, the lack of detailed biological and stock assessment information on scalefish stocks, the variation in the level of fishing activity between participants (which includes both full-time and part-time employment). -time operators) and the large number of landing sites used along the west coast. The Panel believes that ITE systems provide greater flexibility for the management of multi-species fisheries such as demersal scalefish.

The Expert Panel considers the ITE system with 'boat fishing days' units to be the most appropriate management model for the Kalbarri, Mid-West and Metropolitan areas of the West Coast demersal scaly fishery (FMP 190). For this reason the Council recommends that the South West area be managed under the ITE tool/time system with 'line days' units. The expert panel recommends that the total number of 'line days' be allocated to the South West and distributed among eligible anglers in accordance with the Minister's decision on access and allocation.

The Research Division of the Department of Fisheries presented the panel with three options (high, intermediate and low risk) for consideration (FMP 190). The panel has considered using the averages of the top five, ten or twenty boats in each management zone (FMP 190) and recommends that the CPUE (in kg/day) be used to determine the capacity of the West Coast demersal scalefish fishery. estimate based on the annual. While this is a significant one-time payment, the panel believes the VMS is the only way to ensure the integrity of shellfish management on the West Coast.

However, the Panel recommends some general restrictions on the type and amount of fishing gear allowed. The Panel recommends that the gear allowed in the demersal fishery be limited to hand lines and fall lines. The Panel also recommends a limit on the maximum number of lines on a boat to help 'standardize' a unit of fishing effort to some extent.

The panel recommends that five hand lines and five hoist lines be allowed on board each suitable boat in the Kalbarri, Mid-West and Metropolitan areas. The panel notes that the general practice among league fishermen is to land whole fish to optimize product quality.

Figure 2  Recommended management zones for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish  Fishery
Figure 2 Recommended management zones for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery

WEST COAST INSHORE NET FISHERY

O BJECTIVES FOR MANAGEMENT

P ROFILE OF W EST C OAST I NSHORE N ET F ISHERY

M ANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS

SCALEFISH TAKE BY COMMERCIAL FISHERS WHO DO NOT

  • C ONSIDERATIONS
  • M INORITY REPORT
  • C ATCH R EPORTING
  • E XISTING PROHIBITION ON COMMERCIAL FISHERS HOLDING RECREATIONAL LICENCES

12 Report of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Fisheries September 24, 1987. 82 The Impact of the New Management Package on Smaller Operators in the Western Rock Lobster. 123 Future Directions for the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee and the Western Rock Lobster Managed Fishery.

A discussion paper prepared by Kevin Donohue on behalf of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee.

Figure

Figure 1  Integrated Fisheries Management and ESD
Table 1  Demersal wetline catch and the number of boats reporting wetline catch in the  West Coast bioregion from 1990-91 to 2002-03
Figure 2  Recommended management zones for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish  Fishery
Table 2  The Total Allowable Effort (TAE) for each sub-zone.

References

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