News

By George! King George Whiting back on the menu in May

Monday 27 April 2020

South Australian fishers will once again be able to target King George Whiting during May in the southern gulfs with Labor's unpopular spawning closure on fishing now lifted.


Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said King George Whiting stocks have been assessed as sustainable meaning it is time 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," said Minister Whetstone.

"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."

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

In addition to King George Whiting, Minister Whetstone said the science shows the population of Giant Australian Cuttlefish has 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," said Minister Whetstone.

"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.

"The Marshall Liberal Government takes fisheries management very seriously. Where the science indicates a fishing closure is required, this will be implemented.  At the same time, where a fishing closure is no longer required, it should be lifted. We will always seek to consult with fishers on these decisions."

For further details on the latest management changes for King George Whiting and Giant Australian Cuttlefish visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing

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