Popular fish face wipe-out

Senior research scientist Dr Kim Smith and technical officer Amber Howard analyse fish samples.
Senior research scientist Dr Kim Smith and technical officer Amber Howard analyse fish samples.

Dr Kim Smith, of the Hillarys-based department, said a three-year intensive study into declining numbers of herring off the South West had shown the population had dropped dramatically since the early 1990’s.

‘If you take all the adult herring that are off Perth at the moment, at the end of this year, 75 per cent of them will be dead,’ Dr Smith said.

‘Basically the findings indicate that the herring stock was in an unacceptable state and there was a really high risk to the sustainability to the stock and that some strong management action would be required.’

Dr Smith said there were several factors contributing to the decline in the fish, namely a rise in water temperature, changes to currents off WA as well as recreational and commercial fishing.

‘We know that there has been a real change in the environmental condition in the past decade, of course we’ve seen heatwaves events’