A stronger fishing future for South Australian anglers

Victor Harbor recreational angler Max Collins with a top catch.

Victor Harbor recreational angler Max Collins with a top catch.

South Australia will cement its place as the Seafood State of the southern hemisphere with a $24.5 million boost for fishers to land a catch for dinner plates for years to come.

The commercial fishing industry is set for its biggest ever reform with the State Government's plan to increase the profitability of fishing businesses, grow sustainable fish populations and improve opportunities for recreational fishers.

To drive fishing reform in South Australia, the government will establish an Independent Allocation Advisory Panel to provide recommendations about the allocation of quota to licensed fishers for priority fish species.

"This panel will feature independent industry, economic and legal expertise and will be provide initial recommendations to the government," government spokesperson said.

Popular species in the Marine Scalefish Fishery include: snapper, King George whiting, southern calamari, southern garfish, tommy ruffs, snook, octopus, leather jackets and Australian salmon.

To sign up for reform updates and for more information visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishingreform

The State Government is delivering on key election commitments to the state's anglers by supporting historic reform of the commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery and the proposed re-opening of some marine park sanctuary zones for fishing.

The $24.5 million Marine Scalefish Fishery reform package will be fully implemented by July 1, 2021 and includes: Introduction of four regional fisheries management zones: West Coast, Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent/Kangaroo Island and South East; Introducing a total allowable commercial catch for priority species, such as King George whiting, snapper, southern calamari and southern garfish; Allocate quota to fishers, which will be transferable, to manage commercial catch limits: Cap fee increases for the fishery to CPI for four years; A voluntary buyback of up to 150 commercial longline, line and net fishing licenses, commencing Monday, May 25; Cut fishing red tape by at least a third.

"The changes will see fewer longliners and net fishers in the gulfs, more profitable businesses, sustainably set commercial catch limits and more room for recreational fishers to try their hand at catching a feed for their families," spokesperson said.

"We are taking action to reverse the decline in all fishing sectors experienced under 16 years of Labor by tackling a major problem in our waters, too many fishers and too few fish.

"For too long there has been a race to the bottom in fisheries policy with fish stocks such as snapper decimated and the poorly managed competing interests of the commercial and recreational sectors.

"It is time to turn this around and restore optimism and a sense of co-operation to both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, with a united effort to improve fishing opportunities and catches in the long term.

"Only by working together to grow fish populations will our fishing grounds be able to supply increasing numbers of fish to be caught and sold for the evening meal or bagged by the recreational angler.

"The closure of the snapper fishery shows how desperately needed this reform is.

The government has consulted with fishers and are now implementing a transformative reform package, funded by the South Australian community, which will improve the sustainability of fish stocks and the viability of seafood businesses reliant on these species.