Metro cray fishers share concerns over Marmion Marine Park planning

Excitement is building for the annual whites run and the prospect of catching a cray for Christmas.

Word is it’s imminent with a few soft-shelled crays already being taken off nearshore reefs by divers – so get your pots soaked and ready to go!

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland recently met with Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC) CEO Matt Taylor around shared concerns about the impacts of the proposed Marmion Marine Park on prime cray fishing ground close to north Metro boat ramps.

The proposed extension to the marine park will see its size nearly quadruple stretching from Trigg to north of Two Rocks covering some of the northern suburbs’ most popular cray fishing areas.

Crayfishing is a massive part of our fishing lifestyle in Perth and WA with 53,000 licensed recreational rock lobster fishers in the State accessing one of the best managed fisheries in the world with a healthy abundance of crays for both recreational and commercial fishers.

“Both recreational and commercial cray fishers have been sustainably fishing these locations for generations and are alarmed at the prospect of losing access to key fishing grounds out of Hillarys, Ocean Reef, Mindarie and Two Rocks if extensive sanctuary zones are implemented,” said Andrew.

Matt recently voiced similar concerns on the ABC Country Hour and his and his members’ experiences of how DBCA’s consultation process to date has been biased, echoing Recfishwest’s experience.

LISTEN TO WHAT MATT HAD TO SAY ON THE ABC COUNTRY HOUR BELOW

“Like Recfishwest, WRLC participated in the initial consultation phase in good faith through the marine park Community Reference Committee process and by writing to DBCA as peak sector bodies to provide input and comments,” said Andrew.

“However, as the process proceeded, key fishing stakeholders became deeply concerned that zoning was being considered that would restrict ongoing access without any justification and evidence.

Recfishwest, WRLC, and the WA Fishing Industry Council wrote multiple joint letters to DBCA seeking clarity on policy justification for the planning approaches being undertaken in expanding such an important and highly used metropolitan marine park.

“Responses to several specific requests were inadequate and a number of our questions were simply not answered,”said Andrew.

“The WA western rock lobster fishery was the first in the world to be MSC-certified – the global gold standard in sustainable fisheries management – and has been shown to have zero impact on marine habitat – so there is no evidence that can justify shutting people out from catching crays in the marine park.”

DBCA’s lock-out agenda

Andrew added, “It would seem to be a complete overreach to push on with any plans that would take away access to some of the most important fishing areas in the State for cray fishers and the State’s most valuable commercial fishery without justification and without addressing key stakeholders’ concerns. Yet, this has been the pattern of this planning process to date.

“Combine this scenario with the utterly abysmal planning process for the proposed South Coast Marine Park, exposed in Parliament and the media last week – and we share the WRLC’s unease that there has always been a predetermined outcome for both marine parks driven by DBCA’s lock-out agenda.

“We are yet to see the final plans that will go out for public comment – we are led to believe this will happen in the coming months – but what has transpired so far doesn’t inspire confidence in the transparency and authenticity in the consultation to come.

“We support marine parks that are underpinned by science and implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and informed by the views and values of local fishers.”

What you can do

To have any chance of getting a good outcome for fishing from the consultation process ahead, we urge you to:

  • Stay informed.
  • Make sure your fishing friends are aware of what’s going on.
  • Join Recfishwest and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
  • Provide input into the public consultation process when it opens.

“We welcome Matt and the WRLC sharing their concerns with us and the wider community at this stage and look forward to standing together to ensure the best outcome for metro cray fishers,” said Andrew.

RECFISHWEST REPRESENTING THE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF WA’S 700,000 FISHERS – JOIN OUR CAST OF THOUSANDS TODAY.

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