Blue crabs, rock lobster under new management plans

Blue crab

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FISHERS have elected to limit quotas for Blue Crab and Rock Lobster in SA as part of a move to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry, under new commercial fishing management plans starting this month.

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FISHERS have elected to limit quotas for Blue Crab and Rock Lobster in SA as part of a move to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry, under new commercial fishing management plans starting this month.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the two revised plans will see fishers make short term sacrifices to allow crab and lobster populations to grow for the long-term benefit of all fishers, seafood consumers and the environment.

"The government is committed to growing SA's seafood industry and ensuring we have sustainable fish stocks for future generations," he said.

"There has been strong growth in Blue Crab and Southern Rock Lobster populations as a result of our fishers' sustainable practices.

"These new management plans provide innovative strategies to balance increased commercial opportunity alongside greater access to recreational fishers and leaving more in the water for the benefit of the environment."

As part of the Blue Crab plan recreational only fishing 'bubbles' will be established near key regional ports from December 1 through to Easter Monday while commercial fishers will no longer have to seek departmental exemptions to fish the gulfs in summer.

"To help Blue Crab numbers grow even further, fishers have agreed to harvest rules which will see them catch 62 tonnes less fish in the 2020-21 year as a shrewd investment in the long-term sustainability of the species in our coastal waters," Mr Whetstone said.

Mr Whetstone said Southern Zone Rock Lobster fishers have been leaders in sustainable fishing and have decided total commercial catches will not increase two years in a row, no matter how much populations of this sought-after crustacean improve.

"These new management plans support sustainable growth of our $7.8 million commercial Blue Crab fishery and $98.2 million southern zone rock lobster fishery while protecting fish stocks for the benefit of all in the community," he said.

"SA is recognised worldwide for its robust and comprehensive seafood management driven by a partnership between fishers and government focused on growing ecologically sustainable industries."

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