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STOCK DEPLETION of Yellow Fin Whiting ~ A Summary of Conversations.


I have engaged in a few recent conversations with many longtime Yellow Fin Whiting fishermen since my previous post:  “A Threatened Species”  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383810555282311/posts/3589648064698538/

They are experienced, talented fishers, with well established records, detailed in their many fishing reports in past fishing forums.

Stretching back well before the days of Facebook fishing groups.

They have all been unanimous in their observations of a steep decline in YFW catches.

So much so that there are gun YFW fishers that now no longer bother to target them as the returns are no longer there.

Today despite alternative claims from the Professional fishing sector, the Recreational catch of YFW in minimal.

Take a look along the metro beaches today.

No body bothers to target YFW anymore on a metro beach.

In the past you would see many family groups spend an afternoon fishing for them.

Along with the loss of catch, one must also consider the loss to the Community.

The Social and Health benefits that have also been lost along with the fish.


This is not a situation that has come about due to recent weather or climate variations.

This is now a well established trend stretching back numerous years.

Of particular note in my discussions, are the common observations that the steepest decline in catches, has been without doubt, since 2019.




There is an uncanny correlation in the decline in YFW catches since 2019 and the commencement of the Snapper ban in 2019. 

The Snapper Ban, obviously displaced the Professional Fisher’s Efforts.

Due to changes and restrictions forced on them, professional fishers have, by necessity, shifted their efforts towards the remaining available species including YFW. In doing so threatening the stock sustainability of many more species.


The Commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery Reform Advisory Committee  set up in 2018 sought to address this.

A flawed conceptual process, that only considered the needs of the commercial fishing sector of the Marine Scalefish Fishery. (MSF)

It was about how to best divide a shrinking State owned resource only amongst the narrow commercial sector.

A minor sector of the community and an even more minor sector of the economy.

With little or no consideration or respect for the Recreational fishing sector and it’s economic value.


The Commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery Reform Advisory Committee included:

- Six, members from the commercial Marine Scale Fishery  (WHAT !!! loaded!)

- one Rock Lobster Fishery member in recognition of its formal access to marine scalefish species

- One, recreational fisher in acknowledgement of the recreational sector’s interest in this shared access fishery. (Joking eh! How Tokenistic is our representation !!! )

- one independent chair, and one independent economist. (Puppets)

Little wonder the Recreational Sector has been overlooked yet again in their management reccomendations.


Fisheries management have been unable to deliver a key recommendation of the committee:

Establish sustainable catch limits for all species”

The Committee Recommendations on 31st October 2019:



Licence buy outs were a cornerstone of proposed reforms. The last buy out of MSF licences was ineffective as most of the licences bought out were fairly inactive.

A breakdown of the licences bought, displays the ineffectiveness of the plan.

96 licences were bought. 89 were Line Licences. Only 7 were Net Licences.

It is the net licences that are decimating the YFW stocks.

So buying out 30% of the licences did not reduce the Pro catch tonnage by 30%.

It did not reduce the pressure on our fish stocks by 30%

Again ineffective fishery management hidden behind their “buyout fanfare”.

It did not set sustainable catch limits for all species.

Creating a disproportionate effort on species like YFW, that were not protected with a limit.

I am hearing claims, that PIRSA have a vested interest in maintaining as many professional licences as possible. Without a Recreational fishing licence they will not have a vested interest in the Recreational sector.

Until then they will never manage the resource equitably for ALL stakeholders.


Further buyouts of professional licences are required.

For these licence purchases to be effective they must directly relate to the removal of professional catch tonnages and the relevant catch quotas.

All species must have catch quotas.

So we do not see unlimited take of a commercial species, to the point of collapse.


However rather than decisive action from PIRSA, we are likely to see a repeat of Career Fat Cats creating another Marine Scalefish Reform Advisory Committee loaded with Commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery representatives, making more ineffective recommendations and decisions, with contemptuous disregard for Recreational fishers and their value.


It leaves me looking back on what has been destroyed by our Fishery Managers.

I am left only with some wonderfull memories.

Of Delightful past Tennyson Beach sessions by “BJ Slick”.


Cheers, Des

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