The West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery comprises inshore and offshore suites of demersal scalefish species that are exploited by different commercial fisheries recreational and charter fishers operating in the West Coast Bioregion (WCB).

The West Coast Inshore Demersal suite occurs in waters 20-250m deep and is comprised of approximately 100 different species – the most important of which are WestAustralian dhufish (Glaucosoma hebraicum) and Pink snapper (Chrysophrysauratus). Less important species include Redthroat emperor (Lethrinus miniatus), Bight redfish (Centroberyx gerrardi) and Baldchin groper (Choerodon rubescens).

The West Coast Offshore Demersal suite, which occurs in waters more than 250m deep and includes Eightbar grouper (Hyporthodus octofasciatus), Hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios), Blue-eye trevalla (Hyperoglyphe antarctica) and Ruby snapper (Etelis carbunculus).

The WCDSIMF was established in January 2008, following the introduction of the West Coast Demersal Scalefish (Interim) Management Plan and enables permit holders to retain all scalefish other than a number of species that are under specific State or Commonwealth management. Fishers in this fishery are not allowed to take sharks and rays.

Access to the Fishery is restricted to 59 Interim Managed Fishery Permit holders. Gear and other restrictions apply (in the form of maximum numbers of lines and hooks and arrangements regulating the carriage of lines and fish) and boats are monitored under the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

Each of the five management areas is allocated a maximum number of fishing hours that can be used on an annual basis. Units are allocated to permits and provide entitlement in ‘hours’ of fishing time.

The use of VMS allows fishing effort to be monitored and entitlement use acquitted accordingly. The total capacity of the Fishery restricts fishing effort at a level to ensure that catches of all scalefish and also of the suite of demersal species do not exceed catch objectives.

The status of the three indicator species (Pink snapper, Western Australian Dhufish and Baldchin Groper) is used to indicate the status of the entire West Coast Inshore Demersal Suite of scalefish species.

A new management plan to transition the WCDSIMF to a managed fishery is planned.

More than 100 people are directly employed by this fishery.

Key Species Fished

Baldchin Groper
Pink snapper
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