ANOTHER 50,000 juvenile pink snapper will be released into Cockburn Sound on Saturday to help replenish fish stocks after about 2000 fish, including 250 large pink snappers, and invertebrates were found dead in November 2015.
Saturday’s release is the second batch of pink snapper to go into the Sound after the Snapper Guardians was launched last year, with an initial batch of 50,000 baby fish released last February.
The group was formed following concerns by recreational fishers over the fish kill and their desire to protect the important fishery.
An official inquiry found the most likely cause of the event was a combination of factors such as low dissolved oxygen levels and the presence of algal blooms.
Recfishwest set up a crowd-funding program and fishers dug deep into their own pockets to support the re-stocking program.
“The funds required to make the project happen were raised through individual and corporate support in a matter of hours, surpassing all expectations, Recfishwest chief executive officer Andrew Rowland said.
“This then allowed us to develop a release event where the people could come down, roll up their sleeves, get in the water and release fish back into the wild.”
Dr Rowland said Cockburn Sound’s pink snapper stock was one of the most important fish stocks in WA.
“These waters are home to the largest spawning aggregations of this species on the West Coast,” Dr Rowland said.
“Fishers strongly support the measures currently in place to protect the annual pink snapper spawning aggregations for four months of the year.
“Stocking another 50,000 pink snapper into the wild is an extra measure to help boosting stocks along the metropolitan coast.
“In addition to this, Recfishwest is pushing hard for improved water quality and habitat in the Sound to support fish nursery areas and healthy stocks.”
Anglers are forbidden from catching the highly rated breed in the Sound between October and January each year, with the area providing a vital nursery to large aggregations of spawning fish.
Dr Rowland said fishing for pink snapper was continually improving.
“Our vision is for this fishery to be the best in Australia,” he said.
He said one of the most satisfying aspects of last year’s Snapper Guardian program was the community release event where hundreds of children were able to directly release fish into the water.
“Once again we will be holding a community release and everyone who loves fishing and pink snapper is invited,” he said.
Snapper for Cockburn Sound
When: 9am-11am Saturday, February 11
Number of fish being released: 50,000
What you need to bring: Family, camera, hat, sunscreen, snorkel for those who want to get in the water.
Where: Jervoise Bay, Woodman Point