PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture is extending the Port River Vongole (Mud Cockle) fishing zone closure for another year in response to continuing concerns about the sustainability of stocks.
The zone has been closed to all recreational and commercial activity since 2011 to enable stock regeneration.
PIRSA has consulted with both commercial and recreational fishing sectors and there is support to continue the closure for a further 12 months. The closure will be extended from 30 June 2018 until 30 June 2019.
The closure applies to the Port River and all surrounding waters east of a line from the end of Port Gawler Road to the tip of Lefevre Peninsula, Outer Harbour (see map attached). Sean Sloan, Executive Director PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the closure was a necessary and important part of a broader management strategy to support the recovery of Vongole stocks in the Port River area.
“Several factors may have reduced stock levels, including a combination of natural mortality events, unfavourable environmental conditions and high catch levels,” Mr Sloan said.
“Vongole are slow growing animals that produce a small number of eggs, and as a result stocks will take time to recover.” Scientists at the South Australian Research and Development Institute are investigating if the recovery of Vongole in the Port River area could be accelerated by stock enhancement.
The project, Mud Cockle (Katelysia spp) stock enhancement / restoration: practical implementation and policy evaluation, is funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Commercial fishers with access to harvest Vongole can continue to operate in zones around Coffin Bay and the West Coast which are unaffected by the closure.
Recreational fishers are still permitted to collect Vongole from Coffin Bay and bays along the West Coast, including Smoky Bay, Venus Bay and Streaky Bay.
Fishers are also reminded that PIRSA has implemented a ban on the removal of all bivalve organisms (oysters, mussels, cockles, razorfish) from the Port River until further notice, to prevent the spread of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS).
View Port River Vongole fishing closure map ().
For more information on this closure or recreational fishing limits for Vongole visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/closures_and_aquatic_reserves/fishing_closures