District Council of Yankalilla writes to Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone expressing concerns over proposed snapper fishing closure

WHAT A CATCH: Encounter Bay fisherman Dave Turner with a snapper he caught over the 2018-19 summer. Photo: Supplied.

WHAT A CATCH: Encounter Bay fisherman Dave Turner with a snapper he caught over the 2018-19 summer. Photo: Supplied.

The District Council of Yankalilla has written to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development on behalf of its local fishers to express concerns about a proposed snapper fishing closure.

The state government has proposed two options to rebuild "decimated" snapper populations: a three-year statewide snapper closure for all sectors from October 1, 2019 to February 28, 2023; or a total snapper closure for the waters of West Coast/Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent regions from October 1, 2019 to February 28, 2023 and catch limits and an annual seasonal snapper closure for the South East.

Cape Jervis charter fisher Gary Lloyd made a deputation to elected members at the August council meeting, asking council to make a submission during the consultation period to explain the impact a closure in the district's waters would have on the local fishing businesses.

"It will affect a lot of people in the district, predominantly charter fishers," he said.

He explained the impact would be felt not only by the fishing industry, but other tourism sites, too.

"There are 4000 passengers a year at the Cape Jervis and Wirrina ports, and that flows onto the hotels and eateries," he said.

Mr Lloyd wanted to see a review of the science behind the proposal and a 12-month deferral of a decision.

"Last year's survey was flawed; they only had five days to do the survey and they lost two to the weather," he said.

"I believe there are a lot more fish out there than what the science is saying."

Elected members decided to ask mayor Glen Rowlands to write to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone to express their concerns about the "potential impact of an extended closure to the snapper fishery for recreation and commercial fishers as well as small business on the Fleurieu Coast".

"We, as a council, have an opportunity during consultation to put in a letter on behalf of the elected members to express the concern of the level of options on offer," councillor David Olsson said.

"We welcome (Mr Whetstone) to protect the industry, commend him for doing that, but then express the knock-on effect."

Councillor Ruth Trigg said this was an historically important time for the fishing industry, and all points of view needed to be considered.

"The thing I'm hearing is the economy is being put forward, which is understandable when people's livelihoods are at stake," she said.

"The economic imperative is strong, but it's not the only one. If the fish are totally fished out, then there's no economy at all."

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