Whiting closure lifted as numbers sustainable

Whiting closure lifted as numbers sustainable

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KING George Whiting will be back in focus after a spawning closure in the southern gulf has been lifted in May.

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KING George Whiting will be back in focus after a spawning closure in the southern gulf has been lifted in May.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said King George Whiting stocks had been assessed as sustainable, meaning they were able to remove the May spatial spawning closure first introduced in 2017.

"It is terrific to see our whiting stocks have recovered and are once again sustainable after being scientifically assessed as 'transitional-depleting' in Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf back in 2014," he said.

"I want to thank all the recreational, charter boat and commercial fishers who have made sacrifices and changed their fishing practices to comply with the May spatial closures over the past three years in an effort to help this important fishery recover.

"It has been a tough time for the fishing sectors in recent months, so to be able to provide some good news at this time to benefit the sector once the threat of COVID-19 passes is pleasing.

While restrictions remain on non-essential travel, the lifting of this closure for King George Whiting will immediately assist local fishers.

"This decision will give our recreational fishers confidence the Marshall Liberal government follows the science and when species become sustainable people will be able to go fishing again, " Mr Whetstone said.

The recreational bag limit for King George Whiting is 10 fish with a boat limit of 30 fish.

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MrWhetstone said the science also showed the population of Giant Australian Cuttlefish had recovered from the historical low observed in 2013.

"We have a longer history of population data now for the Giant Australian Cuttlefish, which should give everyone confidence the iconic species is not at risk," he said.

"All fishing stakeholders have recommended we continue the permanent cephalopod (squid, cuttlefish, octopus) fishing closure within the False Bay/Point Lowly area as it protects the only known dense aggregation involving Giant Cuttlefish in the world.

"Based on this recent scientific data we are lifting the temporary fishing closure of Giant Australian Cuttlefish for the Northern Spencer Gulf. Of course, strict fisheries management and compliance will continue.

"The commercial and charter sector record their amount of catch and effort and this information will inform future decisions."

Mr Whetstone said the government would work with fishers and scientists on all decisions about fishing closures.

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