COMMERCIAL snapper fishers will have to wait an extra 15 days after the current November closure, and recreational and charter fishers will have reduced bag and boat limits during this time following the introduction of a range of new management measures announced this week .
The two-week extended closure will apply to all sectors in 2013, with the changes aimed at controlling the level of commercial catch and providing greater protection to South Australia's iconic snapper species to safeguard future stocks.
Effective from noon on December 15 this year, a daily commercial catch limit of 500kg will apply across all South Australian waters to control the level of commercial impact on snapper stocks, and commercial fishers will be restricted to using just 200 hooks (reduced from 400 hooks) when operating in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.
PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture executive director Professor Mehdi Doroudi said the new measures followed an extensive review and consultation into snapper management arrangements.
"The snapper review commenced in 2011 in response to concerns about the long-term sustainability of the fishery as a result of increasing commercial catches and a concentration of targeted fishing activity on breeding aggregations by all fishing sectors," Professor Doroudi said.
"The aim of PIRSA's review has been to establish new arrangements that control the level of commercial catch and minimise disturbance to the spawning aggregations so opportunities for spawning and recruitment success can be maximised.
"We have been mindful of the potential economic, social and tourism impacts of any changes and have worked closely with all fishing sectors, tourism authorities and local government bodies to achieve a balanced outcome."
Over coming months, PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture will undertake consultation on the implementation of spatial closures during the annual spawning aggregation period, which runs from November to January each year.