Recfishwest is bitterly disappointed that our persistent and serious concerns around any development on Cockburn Sound’s environment and fish stocks have been repeatedly ignored by the Westport Taskforce.
Today Premier Mark McGowan endorsed the Taskforce’s recommendations for a land-backed port development in Cockburn Sound and committed $97.2 million to the next phase of the development.
The Taskforce’s recommendations were developed after a three-year process costing millions of dollars. Yet, despite the time and money spent, the Taskforce has failed to answer the basic question – what impact will a new port in Cockburn Sound have on the Sound’s pink snapper stocks and fishing experiences?
Recfishwest is calling on the Government to quickly address the Taskforce’s shortcomings to ensure that Cockburn Sound’s future as a marine habitat and the future of West Coast pink snapper is not put on the line. Let us be clear:
While Recfishwest is not anti-development, we will always oppose proposals that reduce fish habitats and abundances or developments that restrict people’s right to access fisheries.
Cockburn Sound’s future as a marine habitat could be on the line here, along with the future of our West Coast pink snapper stocks.
The State Government can only make good decisions when they are presented with good information and the undeniable fact is the Taskforce failed to fill key environmental knowledge gaps which places a massive question mark around the quality of their recommendations.
What’s more, of all the millions the Taskforce spent in attempting to better understanding what the future looks like, not a single cent was spent on planting sea grass, stocking snapper or building new habitats.
The Government’s environmental credentials are now on the line after supporting the Taskforce’s recommendations without fully understanding the impact the new port will have on the environment and our pink snapper stocks.
How and where the Government invest the $97.2 million they have committed to developing this questionable recommendation over the next four years, will tell if they truly value the environment or whether, just like the Westport Taskforce, they prioritise economics over the environment.