WA’s new Fisheries Minister is a friend of fishing

Recfishwest is welcoming the appointment of Dave Kelly as the new Fisheries Minister.

From 2013-2017, Mr Kelly was a very active Shadow Fisheries Minister who showed a consistent and genuine interest in fisheries and always made an effort to understand the issues related to fishing in WA. This experience makes him one of the best-prepared Minsters to take on the portfolio.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland and new Fisheries Minister David Kelly.

Minister Kelly is a strong supporter of recreational fishing. In 2013 he supported Recfishwest’s call for recreational fishers to be given priority access for herring stating: “Herring is one of the most important fish for recreational anglers in WA”.

In 2015, Minister Kelly and Premier Mark McGowan also stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Recfishwest to overturn significant funding cuts to the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF).

Minister Kelly was instrumental in ensuring the new fisheries legislation had bipartisan support allowing it to pass through parliament in 2016. This new legislation is important as for the first time it provides a legal right for recreational fishers to access the community owned fish resources in WA.

In addition to being very active in the parliament, Minister Kelly has found the time to attend and support fishing related events.

Earlier this year the Minister Kelly attended Recfishwest’s Snapper Guardians fish release where he promised “a Labor Government would give Cockburn Sound the care and attention it deserves”.

Recfishwest’s proven ability to effectively advocate on behalf of the State’s 740,000 recreational fishers combined with the positive partnership we have developed with Minister Kelly over the past four years will help us ensure the State Government delivers on their election commitments which included;

• Maintaining the current funding arrangements for Recfishwest and the RFIF;
• Increase funding for the State-wide fishing safety strategy and Fishability;
• Introduction of a Marine Rescue App to connect boaters to search and rescue experts;
• Upgrade boating facilities in Broome to improve safety and access at Entrance Point, Town Beach and Gantheaume Point;
• Support previous investments from Recfishwest and The Nature Conservancy by providing $2 million to bring back oyster reefs to Oyster Harbour;
• Improve fishing access in Bunbury by building a fishing platform and identifying locations for artificial fishing habitats;
• Creating new boat ramps along the foreshore at Eaton; and,
• Ensuring the ongoing health of the Peel-Harvey Estuary through an investment of $1.5 million which may include a buyback of some commercial fishing licences.

During the election campaign the WA Labor party recognised artificial reefs, fish aggregating devices (FADs) and restocking programs all play an important part in enriching the recreational fishing experience as well as growing the economic contribution that recreational fishing makes to the State.

Recfishwest will continue to work with Government in providing you with more places to fish through:

• Building the best fishing spots in Australia through installing artificial reefs and FADs;
• Stocking of impoundments and urban waters with popular Australian native freshwater fish; and,
• Breathing life into waterways through the rehabilitation of shoreline vegetation and the establishment of nursery habitats in selected estuaries, including the Swan River and Canning River.

And, more fish to catch by:

• The stocking of millions of fish;
• Rationalising commercial fishing effort in popular estuaries, such as Peel-Harvey; and,
• A fair go for fishers through policy changes to support better fishing.

Recfishwest will continue to work tirelessly to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community and have no doubt that Minister Kelly and the WA Labor Government will continue to be great supporters of recreational fishing.