Recfishwest is calling on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to urgently address strong concerns around a sudden and unexpected closure of the Hooley Road 4WD beach access point to South Beach, Boranup.
This is a very popular beach accessed and fished by anglers targeting snapper, mulloway, tailor and salmon.
DBCA has deposited several large boulders blocking 4WD access down the track to the beach which is within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
While the soft sand may test some novice drivers, the beach is particularly popular among avid anglers – many of whom are now actively targeting this year’s salmon run and who have been accessing the beach with their 4WD trucks for decades.
Recfishwest is questioning the rationale for the closure and expressing concerns over its potential negative flow-on effects to promoting safe fishing.
Frustration over ‘boulder blockade’
“The boulder blockade dumped on the track has completely come out of the blue and we share the local fishing community’s frustration and disappointment that four-wheel drive access to this prime fishing beach used by local fishers for decades has been suddenly taken away,” Dr Andrew Rowland said.
“We can see no reason why the public is being denied ongoing access to this fishing beach.
“It seems in complete conflict with the objective of a National Park Management Plan which is to ‘fulfil so much of the demand for recreation by members of the public as is consistent with the proper conservation of the natural environment, the protection of flora and fauna and the preservation of any feature of archaeological, historic or scientific interest.’
“Moves like this, also take away safe beach fishing options that potentially drive fishers to rock fishing locations where there is much greater risk to personal safety.
“We have written to DBCA and we are pressing them to adopt a more sensible, educational approach such as installing some signage, while returning four-wheel drive access to the beach as soon as possible particularly given this year’s salmon run is just beginning.”
Dr Rowland added there was a serious principle at stake here and that fishers’ right to continue to drive on beaches should be protected and properly managed.
“We believe that vehicle access to and along beaches where there is evidence of historical access must be maintained wherever possible,” he said.