The Inner Shark Bay Scalefish Fishery encompasses commercial and recreational fishing for scalefish species in the waters of the Eastern Gulf, Denham Sound and
Freycinet Estuary in inner Shark Bay.

The fishery includes the Shark Bay Beach Seine and Mesh Net Managed Fishery (SBBSMNF) and the Inner Shark Bay Recreational Fishery.

The SBBSMNF operates from Denham and uses a combination of beach seine and mesh net gears to mainly take four species/groups: whiting (mostly yellowfin with some goldenline), sea mullet (Mugil cephalus), tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix) and western yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus morrisoni)

The SBBSMNF is managed by limited entry, gear restrictions (eg. vessel size, net length and mesh size) and permanently closed waters (eg. Hamelin Pool, Big Lagoon, Denham foreshore).

A unit in the fishery comprises one primary vessel, a maximum of three netting dinghies and a maximum fishing team of three individual fishers.

Commercial line fishing for snapper has not been permitted in these waters since 1996 (see ‘Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Fishery’).

The Department of Fisheries has proposed a management plan for a Gascoyne Inshore Net Fishery and this plan incorporates the existing SBBSMNF, the Exmouth Gulf Beach Seine Fishery and commercial net fishing in the Carnarvon area as separate zones under a single management plan.

All commercial fisheries in the Gascoyne Coast Bioregion, including the SBBSMNF,
have undergone the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) pre-assessment process.

The SBBSMNF currently employs about 14 fishers based on the seven fishery licenses in operation. Fishing and associated fish processing is an important source of local employment and, although the fishery is relatively small-scale, it makes a significant contribution to the Denham economy and community.

Key Species Fished

Sea Mullet
Western Yellowfin Bream
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