Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023


Snapper Fishery

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:11): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the recent changes to the South-East snapper fishing bag limits?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:12): I thank the honourable member for his question. In what was I think very welcome news to anglers, the state government recently announced a bag limit increase for snapper in the South-East fishing zone. The West Coast Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent snapper stocks remain depleted and are therefore closed until 2026, but the South-East fishing zone is a separate zone and has experienced recent record recruitment events, and increasing biomass, with the fishery shared between western Victoria and the South-East of our state.

The bag limit increase will see recreational anglers able to take a bag limit of two legal-sized fish per person—legal size being 38 centimetres and over—which is an increase of one, and a boat limit of six, where three or more people are fishing on a boat, which is an increase of three per boat. The South-East fishing zone encompasses a large area of state waters from the bottom of Kangaroo Island and around the Murray Mouth, right through to the Victorian border, providing many opportunities for fishers to get out and enjoy the increased snapper bag limit across some of our state's most iconic fishing spots.

Of course, as is so often the case, anglers don't just enjoy the great fishing; they also spend and support local communities. With the start of warmer weather and the upcoming holiday period, it is a great time to get down to your favourite spot, from the Murray Mouth right through to the Victorian border, to go fishing and enjoy the many attractions of that great part of our state. Anyone who does so I would certainly encourage to call in at Port MacDonnell and enjoy that wonderful town that I happen to call home.

The increase in bag limits, as recommended by the Marine Scalefish Fishery Management Advisory Committee, is based on SARDI science, showing it is sustainable, based on the increasing biomass and spawning activity that I mentioned a moment ago. It is a responsible change that takes into account long-term sustainability, balanced with the ability, on this occasion where the science permitted, to have a measured increase and access to the resource for recreational fishers, which we know is important for a range of reasons.

I take this opportunity to reiterate the requirement of recording snapper catches, via Fishwatch or the SA Fishing app, as an important part of ensuring that the snapper fishery in the South-East is managed sustainably within its total allowable catch limits. I look forward to hearing of our keen recreational fishing community getting out and about in the South-East and enjoying some snapper fishing. If you are in Port MacDonnell, please say hello when you see me.