The results are in for South Australia’s first recreational snapper fishing ballot which received more than 3,600 applications from fishers contending for the chance to target the iconic species in south east waters during the 2020 season.
Regional South Australian fishers have come up trumps in the random ballot for tags to go recreational fishing for snapper from 1 February 2020.
Across regional South Australia 392 recreational fishers have been successful in obtaining 1,960 snapper fishing tags (65 per cent) and 214 lucky metropolitan Adelaide fishers will share 1,070 snapper tags which must be used only in South East waters.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said all recreational fishers had a fair and equal opportunity to win snapper tags with the majority of tags going to regional fishers demonstrating the importance of recreational fishing to country communities.
Fishers from all points of South Australia participated in the ballot for snapper fishing tags with 16 successful fishers from the Adelaide Hills, 7 from Barossa, Light and Lower North, 23 from Eyre Peninsula and Western, 23 from Yorke and Mid North, 5 from Murray and Mallee and 19 from the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island.
South east recreational fishers were given precedence in the ballot process and included 45 tags allocated to Beachport fishers, 40 tags to fishers at Bordertown, 185 to Kingston S.E., 320 to Mount Gambier, 55 to Port Macdonnell, 70 to Robe and 260 tags secured by Victor Harbour/Goolwa region fishers.
Each of the successful applicants will receive five recreational snapper tags to use when snapper fishing reopens in the South East region from 1 February under the recreational tag system.
Minister Whetstone said the lucky recreational fishers selected in the trial ballot, implemented as part of the new snapper fishing management arrangements, will be notified of their success via post this week.
“At the close of applications on Sunday (19 January) a total of 3,624 eligible applications had been received from across the state, with 1,921 of those from the South East region,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The recreational snapper fishing tag ballot has been an important part of the new snapper management arrangements, aimed at ensuring snapper stocks in the South East are not over exploited while the fishery is closed in remaining state waters.
“This approach provides an opportunity for hundreds of recreational fishers to access a rewarding snapper fishing experience in our state.
“Snapper fishing in the rest of the state remains closed as stock numbers are dangerously low – the science and anecdotal evidence from fishers all tell us this – and strong action must be taken to protect the fishery for the future.
“The random ballot was overseen by an independent panel and all recreational fishers who applied had a fair chance to be selected.
“With such a large response and only a limited number of tags available, it is inevitable some people will be disappointed to miss out. However in addition to the recreational tags, charter boat operators with an active licence will also each receive 49 tags which provides another potential snapper fishing option for unsuccessful recreational fishers in this year’s ballot.”
Minister Whetstone said the tag system for recreational and charter operators for the controlled opening for snapper fishing in South East regional waters, along with a total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial fishers, was recommended by the Snapper Management Advisory Committee as part of a suite of measures aimed at rebuilding South Australia’s depleted snapper stocks.
“As part of the management measures, recreational fishing snapper tag holders must be in possession of tags in their name at all times when fishing for snapper,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Tags are colour-coded to ensure that they are only used in the 2020 snapper season, and are not transferrable between recreational fishers.
“Recreational, commercial and charter fishers will also be required to report all snapper caught to Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) with recreational fishers also required to use snapper release weights on undersized fish to improve chances of survival during the open season.”
With the completion of the ballot, there will be no further opportunities to apply for additional tags for the 2020 Snapper fishing season.
A total closure on snapper fishing in the Spencer Gulf, West Coast and Gulf St Vincent remains in place until 31 January 2023.
For more details on the management arrangements for snapper fishing in the South East region during the limited open season from 1 February until 31 October visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/snapper