The Pilbara Demersal Scalefish Fisheries include the Pilbara Fish Trawl (Interim) Managed Fishery, the Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery and the Pilbara Line Fishery, which collectively use a combination of vessels, effort allocations (time), gear limits and defined spatial zones (including extensive trawl closures) as management measures.
The Pilbara Fish Trawl Fishery lands the largest component of the total catch of demersal finfish in the Pilbara (and North Coast Bioregion) — comprising more than 50 scalefish species.
Both the Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery and the Pilbara Line Fishery catch is made up of a similar number of fish species (45-50), although the line fishery also includes some deeper offshore species such as ruby snapper (Eteliscarbunculus) and eightbar grouper (Hyporthodus octofasciatus).
The Pilbara Fish Trawl (Interim) Managed Fishery is managed through a combination of area closures, gear restrictions, and the use of input controls in the form of individual transferable effort allocations monitored by a satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS).
The Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery is also managed primarily by the use of input controls in the form of individual transferable effort allocations monitored with a satellite-based VMS and through a partial closure of the fishery since 1998.
There are six licences in the Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery that are operated across three vessels.
The Pilbara Line Fishery is made up of nine fishing boat licenses that are allowed to operate on an exemption basis that enables them to commercially fish for any nominated five-month block period during the year.
Latest figures suggest that these three fisheries employ about 43 fishers on 13 vessels.
The fisheries supply significant amounts of fish to Perth, with catches from the Pilbara fisheries dominating the Perth metropolitan markets and supporting the local fish-processing sector.
In the Kimberley, the Northern Demersal Scalefish Managed Fishery (NDSF) operates off WA’s coast in waters east of 120° E longitude. The permitted means of operation within the fishery include handline, dropline and fish traps, although the NDSF has essentially operated as a trap based fishery since 2002.
During the 2013 fishing season at least 24 people on eight vessels operated in this fishery and the catch was pretty much split 50-50 between supplying the Perth metropolitan market and the east coast metropolitan market
The northern fisheries principally target red and blue spotted emperor and goldband snapper, with a number of species of snappers, cods and emperors.
Key Species Fished
|Red and Blue Spotted Emperor|