Recfishwest concerned about Mandurah whiting fishery

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Image: Recfishwest

RECFISHWEST has expressed concerns about the overfishing of yellowfin whiting from the commercial sector in the iconic Mandurah estuary system of Peel Harvey.

Commercial whiting catches have significantly increased in the Western Australian system since an agreed threshold was reached with the community in 2011.

Traditionally yellowfin whiting made up only a small component of the commercial catch – approximately 5-8t – in what has traditionally been a commercial mullet and blue swimmer crab fishery.

A Recfishwest spokesperson said the community were involved in the negotiation and accepted the current catch threshold for this species, and that this was done in good faith and as a measure to protect the high level of fishing enjoyment a healthy stock provides.

“It’s disappointing that commercial catches of Yellowfin Whiting have been allowed to increase by over 250% since 2011. To now see the agreed threshold exceeded by more than double feels like the West Australian community has been robbed,” she said.

“We believe these catch levels pose a significant risk to the quality of current and future fishing experiences in Mandurah. Fishing for yellowfin whiting is a key part of our culture and we are now calling for action to restore the balance.

“While we understand the value and role commercial fishing plays in delivering fresh, local seafood to the market, we believe that unconstrained catches in such a small system such as the Peel Harvey estuary no longer meet community expectations.

“If Mandurah is to continue to provide fantastic fishing and we are to genuinely preserve what is so important to the West Australian lifestyle, then the time to act is now.

The Peel Harvey harvest stategy can be found here.

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