King George whiting closure zone extended closer to KI

WHITING CLOSURE: The State Government has extended the annual King George whiting closure area closer to Kangaroo Island.
WHITING CLOSURE: The State Government has extended the annual King George whiting closure area closer to Kangaroo Island.

The State Government has extended the annual King George whiting closure area closer to Kangaroo Island.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone said the would be significant changes to the spawning season closure that runs from May 1 to May 31.

"New scientific data has identified high levels of spawning activity further south in Investigator Strait, which supports the need to extend the closure towards Kangaroo Island," Mr Whetstone said.

"These areas are considered the 'engine room' of the King George whiting fishery, where eggs are spawned and the developing fish begin the 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 Government will however re-open areas further to the north after reviewing the latest science and listening to the views of South Australian commercial and recreational fishers.

"An analysis of spawning behavior science has enabled the government to open up waters previously closed, with an extra 4,100 square kilometres of fishing grounds open during the May spawning period, including areas such as Corny Point and Pondalowie Bay," he said.

"Smaller and more targeted King George whiting closure areas will be in effect from May 1 to May 31 in waters between Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island and in Spencer Gulf.

"During this time the targeting, take and possession of King George whiting by all fishing sectors - recreational, charter and commercial - is prohibited in these smaller closure areas."

To the north, recreational fishers will have greater access to fishing grounds than in recent years as they will once again be allowed to launch at Corny Point and Pondalowie Bay off western Yorke Peninsula and off Edithburgh to the east.

"The changes will relieve the pressure fishers experienced off key launch sites last year, such as Point Victoria," Mr Whetstone said.

"The fishing industry is united in wanting a sustainable King George whiting fishery for future generations."

Minister Whetstone also urged recreational fishers to be open to targeting a range of alternative species on offer in South Australian waters.

"Changing your targeting practices can help relieve pressure from our well known species like King George whiting," he said.

"Tommy ruff, snook, yellowfin whiting, yelloweye mullet, silver trevally, Western Australian salmon, mulloway, flathead, sweep and leather jackets all offer great eating and enjoyable catching experiences.

"Regardless of whether it's a hobby, a passion or a chance to spend downtime with family and friends, a simple change in your preferred bait or lure for recreational fishers can bring in a species you haven't caught before."

For full details on the closure, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/kgw-limits or download the free SA Recreational Fishing Guide app.

Rec council meets

The minister's new Recreational Fishing Advisory Council held its first meeting in Port Pirie this week.

"All nine members met with me today and we had a positive meeting discussing a number of issues facing the recreational fishing sector," Mr Whetstone said.

"A key task of the Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Council will be to develop a growth strategy for the sector. The council will meet face-to-face three times a year, with the opportunity for the chair to call more meetings if they wish."

The members of the Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Council are chairman Graham Keegan, Ian Fitzgerald, John Thomas, Tracey Tito, Peter Teakle, Brian Wheadon, Amanda Whitehorn, Shane Mensforth and Dave Scholefield.

For more information on the Minister's Recreational Fishing Advisory Council go to www.pir.sa.gov.au/mrfac

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