Beach-based commercial fishers in nearshore waters of the South Coast Bioregion catch various finfish species, mainly using beach seines, haul nets and gill nets.

The main target species are Western Australian salmon (Arripis truttaceus) and Australian herring (Arripis georgianus), with small quantities of southern sea garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir) and sea mullet (Mugil cephalus). Western Australian salmon and Australian herring both form large schools, particularly during their autumn pre-spawning seasons, that migrate along the coast in nearshore waters between South Australia and Kalbarri (WA).

The main commercial fisheries for these species target pre-spawning schools as they migrate along south-western beaches in autumn. In WA, salmon is targeted exclusively by two commercial fisheries – the South Coast Salmon Managed Fishery (located in the South Coast Bioregion) and the South-West Coast Salmon Managed Fishery (located in the West Coast Bioregion). In these fisheries, salmon are captured by teams of fishers who set beach seine nets from the shore using either row boats or small jet-powered boats.

Most of the commercial catch of Australian herring in WA is taken by various small nearshore and estuarine fisheries in the South Coast and West Coast Bioregions using beach seine nets, gill nets and haul nets.

Approximately 25 major estuaries exist in the South Coast Bioregion, extending from Black Point in the west, to the WA/SA border to the east. Thirteen estuaries are conditionally open to commercial fishing as part of the South Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery (SCEMF). This is a multispecies fishery targeting many estuarine finfish species, with the main fishing methods being gill net and haul net.

The main target species are cobbler (Cnidoglanis macrocephalus), black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri), sea mullet and Australian herring.

In 2013, there were approximately 31 commercial fishers involved in the South Coast Salmon Fishery and approximately 15 commercial fishers involved in the South Coast herring trap net fishery. In 2012, the South Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery employed an average of 21 fishers per month. Additional employment is created by these fisheries in the processing and distribution networks and retail fish sales sectors.

Australian herring and Western Australian salmon fisheries in the South Coast Bioregion supply WA bait and human consumption markets. The South Coast Estuarine Fishery is an important source of fresh local fish to regional centres.

Additionally, a proportion of estuarine landings are sold to zoos across Australia as animal food.

Key Species Fished

Australian Herring
Black Bream
Western Australian Salmon
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