Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks highlight need for better marine park planning process

Recfishwest has praised the Broome and Derby fishing community and Traditional Owners for their role in reining back original plans for the Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks following the State Government’s and Traditional Owners’ joint announcement of the revised final plans on Sunday 31 July. 

Announced just days before Christmas in 2020, the original plans would have locked fishers from 95 per cent of the most valuable fishing waters in and around the Buccaneer Archipelago. 

However, following serious concerns from the local fishing community, Traditional Owner groups met with local fishing representatives in October last year to discuss cultural and fishing values.  

The meeting, together with submissions from fishers resulted in a revised plan announced on Sunday which maintained some fishing access to important areas such as the Inland Sea, Strickland Bay, the Graveyards and several creek systems north of Derby. 

FIND MORE INFORMATION ON THE BUCCANEER MARINE PARKS PLANS HERE

The final plans allowed for continuing access to some key fishing locations which were off limits in the original plans. Photo: Unreel Charters

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “While certainly not the greatest outcome for fishers, it could have been a lot worse and the final management plans to be implemented allow for continuing access to key fishing locations which would have been off limits under the original draft. 

“The Bardi, Jawi, Mayala and Dambimangari Traditional Owners and members of the local fishing community, particularly the Broome and Mary Island fishing clubs, should be congratulated for working together in a meaningful and respectful way to achieve a more balanced outcome than the stark scenario we were all confronted with back in 2020. 

“All the fishing club members and local fishers who took the time to fill in DBCA’s consultation survey also deserve credit – their input has undoubtedly helped achieve a better outcome.”  

However, the final plans could have been greatly improved with a more inclusive process from the outset, and an opportunity was missed to set up an early foundation for collaboration between Traditional Owner groups and fishers developing these marine parks together.  

A failure to understand how fishers use and value the area 

“Recfishwest, along with local fishers are supportive of Traditional Owners and traditional knowledge playing a greater role in the protection and management of these areas,” said Andrew.  

“The traditional knowledge of the Buccaneer’s sea country and aquatic environments has been built up over thousands of years. This places Traditional Owners in a strong position to protect sea country through management approaches that integrate this knowledge.  

We were disappointed that the original plans lacked the recognition of important family-friendly experiences such as fishing for mangrove jack, fingermark and barramundi in the creeks and nearshore waters. This omission highlights how the process was flawed in failing to properly understand how fishers use and value the area. 

Recfishwest is pleased to see a change of consultation approach for marine parks currently being planned for the south coast and for the extension of the Marmion Marine Park in the Perth metro region. 

The Fisheries Minister’s commitment to providing a support package to fishers and charter operators impacted by the Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks was also noted by Recfishwest.  

“What is needed in the future, however,” said Andrew,” is meaningful recognition by Government marine park planners of recreational fishing’s importance to coastal communities and visiting fishers’ lifestyle and culture.  

“The aim must be improving fishing experiences rather than simply locking fishers out of key fishing locations that have been enjoyed by generations of West Aussies.”

The Buccaneer is truly spectacular Sea Country. Photo: Annabelle Sandes

Continue Reading

February 22, 2024

Metro southern garfish ban lifted

In good news for metro anglers, the ban on southern garfish from Lancelin to Myalup is due to be lifted from Friday 1 March.   The ban was implemented in 2017 after an assessment by the Fisheries Department showed…

Read More

February 20, 2024

Recfishwest calls for clarity on proposed offshore wind energy (OWE) projects’ impacts on the marine environment and fishing

Recfishwest  says the announcement by the Commonwealth Government on the area being proposed for offshore wind farms was disappointingly light on critical details. The proposal released yesterday has left fishers…

Read More

February 16, 2024

Recfishwest calls on Government to listen to local fishers and re-think illogical and unjustifiable no fishing zones

Recfishwest says that some of the proposed no-fishing zones in the Government’s South Coast Marine Park plans released today are “completely illogical and unjustifiable”. Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “…

Read More

February 14, 2024

Recfishwest welcomes Fisheries Minister’s west coast demersal reallocation decision

Recfishwest welcomes today’s decision by Fisheries Minister Don Punch to reallocate 20 tonnes of the west coast demersal catch to the recfishing sector – just over a year after changes to the fishery were made. …

Read More

January 31, 2024

Fishability launches new Perth vessel to help people with disabilities enjoy the magic of fishing on the Swan River!

Recfishwest and Fisheries Minister Don Punch joined fishing charity Fishability at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on the Swan River to launch its fantastic, new 8.75m specially adapted boat to give people with…

Read More

January 31, 2024

West coast demersal closure from 1 February – recfishers leading by example

From Thursday, 1 February, the west coast demersal fishery between Kalbarri and Augusta will be closed until 29 March (Good Friday) to recfishers.   It’s great to see recfishers play their part in the recovery of…

Read More