West Coast Demersal Scale Fish Resource
The West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource (WCDSR) comprises over 100 species in inshore (20-250 m deep) and offshore (over 250 m) demersal habitats of the West Coast Bioregion (WCB), which are exploited by both commercial and recreational (including charter) boat-based line fishers. The indicator species for inshore waters include West Australian dhufish (Glaucosoma hebraicum), snapper (Chrysophrys auratus), redthroat emperor (Lethrinus miniatus), bight redfish (Centroberyx gerrardi) and baldchin groper (Choerodon rubescens), while the proposed indicators for offshore waters include hapuku (Polyprion oxygenios), blue-eye trevalla (Hyperoglyphe antarctica) and eightbar grouper (Hyporthodus octofasciatus).
Following identification of overfishing of the inshore demersal resource, the current management arrangements designed to recover stocks were progressively introduced between late 2007 and early 2010. To achieve these management goals each of the commercial fisheries authorised to land demdemersal scalefish in the WCB have individual management plans with access, gear, area and entitlement limitations. Similarly, boat-based recreational and charter fishers are licensed and managed by input/output controls including a closed season. Retained catches were reduced to acceptable levels (below recovery benchmarks) in 2015. The WCDSR is currently managed using a constant catch strategy. Although a formal harvest strategy is not currently in place for this resource, a stock rebuilding program is underway, whereby retained catches are to remain less than 50% of 2005/06 catches until fishing mortality rates fall below the threshold reference point.
image: bight redfish (Centroberyx gerrardi)