The South Coast Purse Seine Managed Fishery (SCPSF) is based on the capture of pilchards (Sardinops sagax) by purse seine nets in the waters between Cape Leeuwin and the Western Australia/South Australia border.

The SCPSF Management Plan 1994 also covers the take of yellowtail scad (Trachurus novaezelandiae), Australian anchovy (Engraulis australis), scaly mackerel (Sardinalla lemuru), sandy sprat (Hyperlophus vittatus) blue sprat (Spratelloides robustus) and maray (Etrumeus teres).

The SCPSF consists of five Management Zones and is primarily managed through output controls in the form of individual transferable quota (ITQ) units.

Four of the five zones in the fishery have been allocated a set amount of ITQ units whose values are determined by dividing the total allowable catch (TAC) for that zone by the total number of units allocated to that zone.

The TAC has been relatively stable over the past 10 years and will be reviewed on an as needs basis but is primarily dependant on the status of fish stocks.

The Albany zone has an annual TAC of 2683 tonnes, while both the Bremer Bay and Esperance zones each have an annual TAC of 1500 tonnes.

Zone 5 of the fishery is considered a development zone and can only be fished by a licence holder in the SCPSF with a minimum holding in another zone, it has no specific TAC or units and has not been fished for a number of years.

The 2011/12 pilchard catch in the South Coast Purse Seine fishery was the second highest since 1998. Commercial pilchard catches during the 2011/12 were 2380 t,— similar to catches reported in recent years (2010/11: 2322 t; 2009/10: 2647 t) but still trending upward since the late 1990s.

This suggests that the pilchard biomass is still recovering since the pilchard virus and kills of the late 1990s.

Key Species Fished

Pilchards (Sardinops sagax)
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