Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists are working towards a major stock assessment to provide a vital snapshot in the 20-year recovery plan for west coast demersal fish species like snapper and dhufish.
To help with that, they're urging recreational fishers to donate fish frames from their catches of key demersal species like dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper, but they're also keen to get more herring frames.
The frames (filleted skeleton) can be fresh or frozen, with head and guts intact (you can keep the wings), but for large fish, like dhuies you can donate just the head if you wish.
Along with the frames, researchers are also urging fishers to add a note or label to their donated frames with the location and date of the capture. And, if you would like research feedback or a chance to go into prize draws let us know your name, phone number and email.
Recreational fishers are well-known for their stewardship of Western Australian fisheries and now's the time to help our researchers again as they check on whether demersal and nearshore species are recovering.
The other reason for fishers to drop off their frames and provide their details is to give you the chance of winning the grand prize of a charter fishing trip to the Montebello Islands, courtesy of Montebello Island Safaris.
The prize also includes a return flight to Exmouth, that will be drawn in August. There are also quarterly prizes of fishing rod/reel/braid combination packages and life jackets donated by Recfishwest to be won.
To find out where the offices and participating stores are to drop off your fish skeletons please visit fish.wa.gov.au/frames
Recfishwest chief executive Dr Andrew Rowland has encouraged recfishers to get on board with the program and donate their fish frames.
"As stewards of the resource, recfishers have a critical role to play in supporting this important citizen science project, to ensure the department has a solid sample base to enable them to better understand the status of our fish stocks," he said.
"Good data underpins good science which supports good fishery management."
DPIRD senior research scientist Dr David Fairclough said the Send Us Your Skeletons program has been important in understanding the recovery of WA's iconic species.
"Species like WA dhufish and snapper can live for forty years, so understanding the age structure for these species is vital in evaluating how well they are tracking," he said.
"The larger the number of fish of all ages in the population of these species, the more sustainable they are likely to be and this is what we're looking for.
"The more frames of all sizes that recreational fishers can donate the greater the quality of our assessments.
"A significant part of WA's reputation for sustainable fisheries management comes from our science-based decision making and the more data recreational fisheries can help us with, through donating fish frames, the more we can ensure there's fish for the future."