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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Know the rules where you fish
Tuesday 3 November 2020

Court fine recognises the importance of closed seasons in Shark Bay's inner gulfs

Pink snapper stocks in the inner gulfs of Shark Bay are vulnerable to overfishing, because the localised populations are small and reproductively isolated.

The three separate inner gulf populations don’t crossbreed with each other or the wider-ranging oceanic pink snapper population, so the management rules not only include a daily bag limit of two pink snapper, but also closed seasons that apply in the Freycinet Estuary from 15 August to 30 September (inclusive) and during May, June and July every year in the Eastern Gulf.

A fisher, who was convicted in Denham Court on Friday (30 October) and ordered to pay more than $6,500, had fished during a closed season and was found with nine pink snapper.

The now 70 year-old Perth man from suburban Willetton was fined $4,000 for breaching the Eastern Gulf season closure and given a mandatory penalty of $2,295, for the nine totally protected fish he had, and also has to pay court costs of $225.90.

Because of the three-month season closure, which is aimed at protecting spawning stocks, the pink snapper in the Eastern Gulf become totally protected fish during that time.

Denham Court was also told on Friday that a large roadside, illuminated and flashing sign was in place adjacent to the boat ramp to notify fishers of the closure.

The court heard the accused and three other men were fishing by line on 3 June, on a dinghy out from Monkey Mia, when a compliance officer from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development approached the vessel and identified himself.

At that stage the offender threw four pink snapper overboard, one of which the compliance officer was able to recover. A further five pink snapper were found when the dinghy was searched and, because the other men aboard declined to answer any questions regarding the catch, the Willetton man who was also master of the vessel was charged and, last Friday, convicted of taking nine pink snapper during the Eastern Gulf closed season.

More information on this closure and other rules is available in the Recreational fishing guide, available on the department’s website at The obligation for all fishers is to know the rules that apply to what they are fishing for and the where they plan to fish.

Whether it’s fishing in closed areas, out of season, or other breaching of WA’s fishing rules, we urge people to report what they see or suspect may be illegal fishing activity to 1800 815 507.

All FishWatchreports are treated in the strictest of confidence and, by reporting what you see, you will be assisting us in protecting WA's fish resources for future generations.

Last modified: 3/11/2020 4:34 PM

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