Fish back in water

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Hundreds of people turned out at Woodman Point to help release 3000 juvenile snapper.
Camera IconHundreds of people turned out at Woodman Point to help release 3000 juvenile snapper. Credit: Recfishwest

More than 800 people hit the waters at Woodman Point at the weekend to help replenish Cockburn Sound’s pink snapper stocks.

About 3000 baby snapper were released at Saturday’s event, hosted by Recfishwest as part of an ongoing project to restock WA waters with key recreational fish species.

Earlier this month, 47,000 pink snapper were released into Cockburn Sound, which Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said was a major boost to the local fishery.

“Fishing for pink snapper off the Perth coast is continually improving — our vision is for this fishery to be the best in Australia,” Dr Rowland said.

“Cockburn Sound’s pink snapper stock is one of the most important fish stocks in WA — these waters are home to the largest spawning aggregations of this species on the West Coast.”

The snapper were raised at the Australian Centre for Applied Aquaculture Research in Fremantle and were 112-days-old, with an average length of 7cm.

A seasonal ban on taking pink snapper from Cockburn Sound was lifted earlier this month.

It coincided with the end of the first spawning season since 2015’s devastating fish kill, which had the fishing community and State Government scrambling for answers. Thousands of fish and invertebrates died in the Sound during the kill, including hundreds of prized adult pink snapper.

Scientists attributed the fish kill to a combination of low dissolved oxygen levels, warm water, and high concentrations of microscopic algae.

Recfishwest spokesman Tim Grose said the feedback from fishers in the area had been positive since the ban was lifted.

“The fishing in Cockburn Sound is good and the guys are catching some great pink snapper in there,” he said.

“The people of WA have a sense of ownership of the snapper and they seemed quite happy to sit out the closure.”

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