skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

A freshly caught breaksea cod displaying the effects of barotrauma - note the protruding stomach and bulging eyes. This fish would not likely release well.

Friday 5 April 2019

Stop fishing for demersals once you reach your bag limit

Fishers who continue to fish for demersal finfish once they have reached their bag limit, even if they intend to catch and release their catch, can place unnecessary pressure on fish stocks

This is because number of demersal finfish will die after release as a result of barotrauma (the expansion of gases in a fish’s body due to a sudden decrease in pressure) poor handling on deck, hooking injuries and being picked off by sharks.

You can play your part in ensuring the sustainability of demersal finfish stocks by either stopping fishing once you’ve reached your bag limit or by targeting other species in the nearshore environment – such as trolling for pelagic fish like Spanish mackerel or fishing for whiting or squid.

If you do catch more fish after reaching your bag limit for a species or group of species, you must return them to the water immediately or they will count towards your bag and boat limit

You must also immediately release any protected fish – which includes fish that are under minimum or over maximum size limits, and it is an offence to use them for bait.

And remember you are boat fishing for demersal species in the West Coast Bioregion you must have a release weight on board to return unwanted and undersize fish as quickly and safely as possible.

Fishers caught taking fish in excess of bag, boat and/or possession limits can face significant penalties up to $5,000, in addition to mandatory penalties of ten times the value of each fish taken in excess of the limits.

For more information see our recreational fishing rules.

You can also download our Recreational fishing guide.

Last modified: 5/04/2019 4:31 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at