New information has informed a change to the spawning closure area for the upcoming King George Whiting fishing closure in May.
New scientific data on the spawning patterns and behaviour of King George Whiting has reduced the closure area to two separate smaller areas rather than the one larger closure in 2018.
The information has identified high levels of spawning activity further south in Investigator Strait, supporting the need to extend the closure towards Kangaroo Island.
The review has also provided an opportunity to refine the closure and open up waters previously closed, with Yorke Peninsula fishers now able to fish for whiting in areas such as Corny Point and Pondalowie Bay during the closure period.
The King George Whiting closure areas will be in effect from 1-31 May 2019 in waters of Spencer Gulf, southern Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait.
During this time the targeting, take and possession of King George Whiting by all fishing sectors – recreational, charter and commercial – is prohibited in these areas.
The closure areas are considered the ’engine room’ of the King George Whiting fishery, where eggs are spawned and the developing larvae begin their journey to nursery grounds in the gulfs and on Kangaroo Island. It’s vital that disturbance during the critical spawning period is kept to a minimum.
The closure to protect this sought-after species was introduced in 2017 following extensive public consultation and at a time when stocks in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent were classified as ‘depleting’.
Since the package of management measures was introduced in 2017, stocks have improved and the fishery is now classified as ‘sustainable’ in the most recent scientific stock assessment report published by SARDI.