THE Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries have introduced new restrictions on the amount of King George Whiting recreational fishermen can catch.
King George Whiting catches will be restricted to six times the bag limit or seven kilograms of fillets, around 72 fish.
Similar restrictions have also been place on the Goolwa cockle with four times the recreational bag limit, and Razorfish with four times the bag limit, or 100 fish.
Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said regulations would be amended and come into effect later this year in a bid to protect these species.
“Up until now there has been no limit on the number of fish recreational fishers can catch and keep in their possession,” she said.
“The move follows feedback from concerned fishers who took part in a consultation process last year, aimed at protecting South Australia’s fish from exploitation, mainly from interstate fishers.”
Penalties for breaching the regulation carries an on the spot fine of $315 and in certain circumstances up to $20,000 if prosecuted before a court.
While the introduction of fishing limits on King George Whiting has received support from many on the West Coast, issues have been raised about the seven kilogram weight limit.
Ceduna Mayor Allan Suter said Council is in support of possession limits, but a change in the weight limit is needed.
“The Council is supportive of the possession limits and they have the numbers right, but the concern is the weight is too low,” he said.
“We have provided a counter proposal to PIRSA of 72 fish, 10 kilograms or 144 fillets as long as they can be counted, if not then they should be weighed.
“The proposal has been taken under consideration.”
There are concerns the weight limit could have an affect on Ceduna tourism.
Ceduna Deputy Mayor and owner of Shelly Beach Caravan Park Lynton Brown said many people only get 2-3 weeks a year to come and fish.
“I know many of these people who come down to fish and they aren’t fish thieves,” he said.
“We have asked people with what they would prefer, and most were happy with a limit of ten kilograms.
“A Committee was set up to advise the Minister of what people on the West Coast wanted, but the advice was ignored and the weight was cut back to seven kilograms.”
Minister Gail Gago said the introduction of the new possession limits would bring South Australia into line with other states while providing a tailored solution meeting the specific needs of the State’s fisheries.
“The new possession limits will be simple for the community and fishers visiting the State to understand and will ensure we protect our valuable fish resources for future generations,” she said.