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Bag rules confusing : fisherman
Bag rules 'confusing': fisherman

Recreational fishermen have flagged concerns with new, simplified Department of Fisheries rules.

The rules, announced this month, cover the whole of the State and reduce the finfish bag limit categories from 13 to four.

However, Busselton fisherman Howard George said there was still confusion surrounding demersal scale fish.

“You can’t bring fish from one zone into another because of the different bag limits so it’s a bit deceiving, ” he said.

“At the moment some fishermen don’t fully understand the rules or just take a pun and will end up being caught and prosecuted.”

Fisheries said smaller bag limits, a closed season and a boat limit for dhufish had reduced demersal scale fish catch on the west coast by 50 percent since 2009.

Strategic fisheries policy manager Nathan Harrison said bigger bag limits applied outside the west coast because of less sustainability concerns.

“If people are bringing their fish into the West Coast Bioregion they need to comply with the lower bag limits that apply to that area — otherwise people would just claim they caught the fish elsewhere and the more restrictive limits in the West Coast Bioregion would be unenforceable, ” he said.

The management of west coast demersal scale fish would be reviewed later this year when the results of the next stock assessment and Statewide boat catch survey are available, he added.

Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Roland said while the new rules were simpler there would always be complexity when managing natural resources.

“The West Coast Bioregion closures have been in place for three years, ” he said. “The stock assessment report should be released this month and we’re keen to have a look at what it says. If it’s good news we will be pushing to align the West Coast Bioregion bag limits with the rest of the State.”

For information about the new fishing rules, visit www.fish.wa. gov.au.