Proposed west coast demersal nine month ban? There is a better way.

Following last week’s shock announcement about the Government’s proposed nine-month west coast demersal scalefish ban, Recfishwest has written to Minister Punch. We have asked him to explain how the package of 17 recommendations we put forward in July did not meet the Government’s catch reduction targets.

Our recommendations were developed after months of hard work, working through the responses from the biggest recreational fishing survey in WA history and with months of considered input from our West Coast Demersal Expert Working Group.

READ THE PACKAGE OF WEST COAST DEMERSAL RECOMMENDATIONS WE MADE TO GOVERNMENT HERE 

Recfishwest has also asked the Minister to restore the public comment period back to six weeks as originally agreed, rather than the four that the Government has now made it.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “The Government’s current proposals largely ignored key recommendations put forward by Recfishwest – including a dhufish spawning closure during the peak spawning time. Instead, the Government is asking fishers to choose between two totally unacceptable options that will cause a huge amount of social pain and economic hardship.

“We worked in good faith over the last few months, yet after all the input from the community and the constructive solutions put forward, we learnt through the media that our package was deemed by the Minister to be insufficient to achieve the desired catch reductions. We have not been informed how each element of our package was assessed and exactly where the package was deemed to have fallen short of meeting the challenge set by the Minister.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – RECFISHWEST ON NINE NEWS

Recfishwest has already been contacted by hundreds of fishers concerned about the impact a nine-month closure will have on their way of life, as well as regional caravan park owners, charter operators and tackle shop owners who hold grave concerns about the future of their businesses if these proposals are implemented.

There is a better way

Andrew said, “Without question there is a better way to speed up the rebuilding of these fish stocks – which are not in ‘decline’ as has been suggested in the media. The fishery is clearly sustainable with DPIRD’s latest State of the Fisheries report classifying this fishery as ‘recovering at an acceptable rate’.

“Only giving fishers the choice between an eight or a nine-month ban is simply unacceptable, especially while we know our package will achieve the required outcomes with much less economic and social carnage. We have asked the Government to explain how our recommendations were assessed and where they fall short.”

What you can do

Recfishwest will continue to communicate with the fishing community on our course of action right through the consultation period and beyond.  Many people are asking how they contact their local MP to let them know how the proposals will impact them and their families. If you need tips on how to reach out to your local MP, our guidelines here should help.

“We appreciate your support and we’ll stand strong to protect your fishing experiences and the fish stocks upon which these experiences rely,” said Andrew.

New Ammo Jetty design tailor-made for great fishing!

Plans unveiled this week put fishing at the heart of the design for a new Ammo Jetty at Woodman Point in Cockburn Sound, showing fishers’ voices were heard loud and clear by the Department of Transport (DoT) when designing the new jetty.  

With plenty of bread-and-butter species on offer, the Ammo Jetty is a great land-based fishing spot in the metro.

This demonstrates the importance of fishers participating in these processes when we get the chance. 

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti revealed the new jetty will include a 50-metre long, three-metre wide T-head, more than doubling the fishing space in the deeper water at the end of the jetty. This will provide access to 10m deep water, which is the same depth as the end of the Busselton Jetty and deeper than the new Esperance Jetty. The jetty will also incorporate a significantly wider main deck.  

This design was in line with feedback from the fishing community and recommendations made by Recfishwest in our role on the jetty design working group.   

“During the consultation stage, we received more than 1,000 submissions from members of the public, which highlights just how important this project is to the community,” said Minister Saffioti 

“The design means fishers can look forward to more space to drop a line in deeper water, and will benefit from the luxury of being able to fish with the wind at their back in all directions.”  

CHECK-OUT AN ANIMATION OF THE DESIGN AND WHAT WE HAD TO SAY TO CHANNEL SEVEN NEWS!

More than 60 per cent of respondents to a DoT survey supported a wide jetty head/T-head design and the ability to fish on all sides of the jetty.  

The next chapter in a rich fishing history 

Speaking to Channel 7 News Recfishwest Operations Manager Matt Gillett said the jetty is a key land-based fishing spot for metro fishers particularly mums, dads and kids, who can now look forward to creating “more fantastic fishing memories for years to come”. 

“The Ammo Jetty has a rich fishing history and has been a firm favourite with land-based metro fishers, for decades whether you fish for herring, whiting, squid, or salmon in autumn or maybe if you like to chase Spanish mackerel. Cockburn Sound provides it all and the Ammo Jetty provides land-based fishers with access to it.

Sensational Spaniards off the Ammo Jetty like this is the stuff land-based fishers dream about! Pic: johnnykacal/Fishwrecked.como it,” said Matt. 

“We’re very pleased that the recommendations we put forward were taken on board by the design team particularly around the jetty’s T-head. The original Woodman Point jetty had a T-head that allowed improved access to species like Spanish mackerel fishing and salmon fishing at the right time of the year.  

“There will also be some other features we will see in the final plans I am sure resulting in fishers being able to get the best out of this facility.”  

The Woodman Point Jetty popularly known as the Ammo Jetty, was originally built in 1903 for loading and unloading explosives. The jetty was opened for public access when the explosives magazines were closed in 1984 

A working group led by DoT and comprising of the City of Cockburn, State Government agencies, Recfishwest and Fishability continues to guide the jetty replacement project which has now moved to the detailed design phase including cultural heritage, development and environmental approvals. 

DoT says construction of the new jetty will start following the completion of these approvals and following the tender process. Construction is expected to take approximately 12 months, says DoT.  

Matt said it was critical fishing access to structures like the Ammo Jetty is not just maintained but developed and increased.  

“Any piece of fishing infrastructure whether it’s a jetty or a rock wall is vitally important to fishers,” he said. “In the case of the Ammo Jetty, it was falling into a state of disrepair, so we’ve very pleased with the outcome.

“Jetties are such a valuable community asset and every coastal town should have a jetty providing the ability for the community to access the great fishing experiences WA has to offer” 

Find out more about the Ammo Jetty rebuild project on DoT’s website here

Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks: opportunity to achieve ‘something special’ lost if plans not revised to preserve key recfishing access

Recfishwest has strongly urged DBCA and Traditional Owners to revise their marine park plans for the Kimberley’s Buccaneer Archipelago to preserve fishers’ access to the safest and most valued fishing spots and to allow recfishers and Traditional Owners work together to ensure this special place is looked after forever. Continue reading “Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks: opportunity to achieve ‘something special’ lost if plans not revised to preserve key recfishing access”

Proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks public comment period extended to 11 June – Recfishwest urges fishers to have their say

Recfishwest is encouraging fishers to have their say on the proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks before the public comment period ends, after the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) recently extended the deadline to 11 June to allow more time for the preparation of submissions. Continue reading “Proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks public comment period extended to 11 June – Recfishwest urges fishers to have their say”

Help steer the future direction of recfishing in WA

Do you have a legal or financial background and want to help steer the future direction of recfishing in WA?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both these question, Recfishwest is keen to hear from you – we are currently seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from suitable candidates from across WA to be considered for appointment to the Recfishwest Board of Directors.

The role of the Recfishwest Board is to provide governance and strategic leadership to Recfishwest assisting in our purpose of delivering “Great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever” as the State’s peak recreational fishing body.

In line with our Constitution, we are particularly interested in expressions of interest from candidates with legal (commercial law) experience and/or expertise in financial strategy for appointment in November 2020 for a term of two years. Fundamental to your interest should also be an appreciation of, and love for, fishing in Western Australia.

This is a great opportunity to contribute to protecting and enhancing opportunities for WA recfishers and to utilise your skills, knowledge and experience in a forward-thinking organisation.

Use your expertise to help us in our purpose of “creating great fishing experiences for all in the WA community forever”.

Recfishwest values diversity. Women and people from culturally diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

The duties of Directors are performed on a voluntary basis. Meetings are held approximately eight times a year, face-to-face or via video conferencing platforms.

Our Remuneration and Nominations Committee will review all expressions and make recommendations to the Recfishwest Board for appointment following our Annual General Meeting on 10 November.

Please lodge your EOI by completing and emailing us the Candidate Statement Form below and attaching an accompanying CV (four pages maximum) to: info@recfishwest.org.au with ‘Expression of Interest – Board Director’ in the subject line. For more information please call Andrew Rowland on 9246 3366 or visit recfishwest.org.au

Candidate Statement Form

EOIs must be received by Sunday, 8 November, 2020.

Canal Rocks boat ramp upgrade launch-ready by ‘end of January’

UPDATE, as at 9 February, 2021: Construction halted from Christmas to mid-January to allow for the existing boating facilities to be used during the peak period. Construction resumed in mid-January, with the ramp set to be opened in April, 2021. 

In welcome news for South West recfishers, the upgraded Canal Rocks boat ramp and jetty near Yallingup will be ‘launch-ready’ by the end of January, according to a joint media release from Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti. Continue reading “Canal Rocks boat ramp upgrade launch-ready by ‘end of January’”