Urgent Notification – Southern Garfish Closure

Garfish Closure


20 Jun 2017 3:27 PM AEST – Metropolitan waters closed to fishing for southern garfish

Following an assessment of southern garfish in Cockburn Sound and wider Perth metropolitan waters, it has been decided to close the area to fishing for southern garfish to help stocks recover.

The area between Lancelin and Myalup, is closed to both recreational and commercial fishing for southern garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir) until further notice.

Department of Fisheries South West Bioregions Manager Tim Nicholas said fishers were still permitted to take robust garfish (also known as three-by-two and storm garfish) in the closed area.

Mr Nicholas said the stock assessment showed the fishery needed to stay closed to protect the breeding stock until southern garfish numbers rebounded.

“The department believes the southern garfish stock issues are being driven by a combination of environmental and fishing pressures,” he said.

“While we can’t control the environment, we can adapt our fishing to reduce fishing pressure on the stock and allow the stock to recover and closures are effective in achieving this.

“Importantly, the Department of Fisheries will continue to monitor the stock to check the progress of the recovery.”

Mr Nicholas said the department had consulted with Recfishwest, the WA Fishing Industry Council and commercial fishers about the southern garfish, to work through the science and formulate management responses to aid the recovery of the stock.

“The department has a proven track record for identifying and dealing with specific issues for fish stocks and, with the help of the sector bodies who take their stewardship roles very seriously, has developed strategies that have previously resulted in the recovery of fish stocks – for example with rock lobster and demersal scalefish species,” he said.

Fishers are reminded to release any southern garfish caught in the closed area, to help ensure there will be southern garfish for the future.

Robust garfish – which can still be taken in the closed area – can be identified by a dark blotch below the dorsal fin and a longer lower tail fin lobe than that of southern garfish.

For a map of the area closed to fishing for southern garfish along with additional information, including comparative images showing the differences between this species and robust garfish, a special flyer is now available on the department’s website at:


MEDIA CONTACT: Ashley Malone 0418 901 767