14/11/2020 | David Basham MP

New snapper fishing management arrangements for the South East including recreational bag limits will come into effect 1 February 2021.

Recreational fishers will be allowed to catch two snapper per person per day or six per boat but it will be mandatory to report catches through the Department of Primary Industries and Regions Recreational Fishing App.

There will be a total allowable catch of 26,666 kilograms in South East waters, made up of 21,600 kilograms for commercial fishers, 2,133 kilograms for recreational fishers and 2,667 kilograms for charter boats.

The new rules replace the snapper tag trial which was run this year for recreational fishers. The charter boat sector has requested continue to use tags and the State Government has accepted this recommendation.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said a total closure on snapper fishing for the Spencer Gulf, West Coast and Gulf St Vincent is currently in place until 31 January 2023 with controlled fishing allowed in the South East between February and October each year.

“The Marshall Liberal Government wants to encourage people to get out to the regions and try their hand at fishing,” Minister Basham said.

“The new management arrangements will make snapper fishing in the South East more accessible for more people, while ensuring stocks remain sustainable.

“The daily catch limits will replace the recreational snapper tag trial we ran in 2020 after feedback was received from the Minister’s Recreational Fishing Advisory Council and the Snapper Management Advisory Committee.

“Anyone who plans on heading out to catch a snapper will need to download the Recreational Fishing App and is required to report any catches.

“Unfortunately the latest stock assessments show critically low snapper numbers in our gulfs and prompted the need to close the fishery to ensure future generations will be able to catch snapper in South Australian waters.

“The former Labor Government cut snapper research funding and failed to take action to protect this iconic species.

“The Marshall Liberal Government will continue to base our fisheries management decisions on the best available scientific information as well as expert advice.”

South East snapper fishing arrangements 1 February 2021- 30 June 2021

Recreational Fishers

  • A minimum size limit of 38 cm will continue to apply
  • All recreational fishers will be required to use a ‘release-weight’ when releasing snapper
  • A daily bag limit of two snapper per person
  • A daily boat limit of six snapper
  • Mandatory snapper catch reporting through the Department of Primary Industries and Regions Recreational Fishing App
  • Once the recreational catch limit is reached, snapper fishing will be closed for the recreational sector

Commercial fishers

  • A minimum size limit of 38 cm will continue to apply.
  • A 350 kg daily commercial trip limit and a possession limit of 1050 kg with no limits to the days fished.
  • No transfer of snapper onto other vessels will be permitted whilst at sea.
  • Prior reporting and a catch and disposal record are required for any take of snapper.
  • Commercial fishers may apply for a Ministerial exemption to transit through the closed area with snapper on board their vessel.
  • The commercial fisheries with access to snapper will be closed once the TACC is reached.

Charter boat fishery

  • The taking of snapper on a charter boat in South East waters would continue to be managed through a tag system at the request of the sector
  • A tag must be immediately attached to the snapper once it has been removed from the water and cannot be removed until it is processed or consumed.
  • Tags will be equally issued to all ‘active’ Charter Boat Fishery licence holders. The number of tags per licence will be determined closer to the season opening. Prior reporting and a catch and effort return are required for any take of snapper.
  • Tags will be transferable within the charter boat fishery, but not to recreational fishers

Snapper catch limits for the commercial sector have been set at 36,000 kg from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. Recommended management arrangements for recreational and charter boat fishing in the South East from 1 July 2021 will be considered by the Snapper Management Advisory Committee in early 2021.

To download the app in preparedness for 1 February 2021, see https://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/recfishingapp