Proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks update

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland, Operations Manager Leyland Campbell and Operations Lead Matt Gillett  have met with members of the Broome and Derby fishing communities to listen to local views on the proposed Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks.

In addition, they also met with a number of representatives from the tackle industry, the local shires and from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

More than 240 local fishers attended sessions held at the Broome Fishing Club and the Mary Island Fishing Club, coordinated by Recfishwest.

Dr Rowland thanked the two clubs for hosting the events.

“Both forums were very constructive with local fishers keen to express their concerns about the proposed marine park,” he said.

Visit DBCA’s website to read more about the proposed marine parks in the Buccaneer Archipelago here

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland speaking with local fishers at the Mary Island Fishing Club in Derby last month.

This is what was heard:

  • There is a great deal of concern around the potential loss of fishing access along the Dampier Peninsula from Pender Bay on the western side all the way around to Cunningham Point on the eastern side, as well as the loss of access to important locations within the Dampier Archipelago, such as The Graveyard, Inland Sea and Robinson River;
  • There was also concern about the impact of displaced commercial fishing effort on places outside of the marine park such as Goodenough Bay, Valentines, Fraser River and Blue Holes;
  • There were very strong concerns from Derby community members around the loss of “liveability” from the town itself as a result of loss of fishing access in the archipelago;
  • Many fishers want to see the pristine environment of the archipelago protected and share concerns around how increased visitors will be managed to the Dampier Peninsula due to the upgraded Cape Leveque road;
  • Are there better or other ways to protect these areas?;
  • The lack of available science to justify proposed sanctuary zones;
  • There was a large appetite for having constructive discussions with the DBCA and Traditional Owner (TO) groups to better understand why the marine parks have been proposed in their current form;
  • Some found information provided in the draft plans complex and overwhelming, and expressed concern about the online feedback survey being confusing, repetitive and taking up too much time to complete;
  • Fishers felt they needed more time to understand the proposals so they are able to provide meaningful feedback into the process; and,
  • Many people had not heard about the proposed parks and queried the process used to develop the draft plans.
There is a large appetite for constructive discussions with the TOs to develop a better and more inclusive marine park management approach. Picture: Unreel Adventure Safaris

Having heard these views from local fishers and fishing stakeholders, for the next phase of the process Recfishwest has committed to:

  • Regularly communicating with fishers to keep them up to date with opportunities to better engage in the process;
  • Provide clear and comprehensive advice on how best to make a submission to DBCA. Recfishwest will be providing some guidelines on this on our website shortly, so there is no need to rush your submission;
  • Provide specific guidance and review individual submissions for anyone wanting a helping hand. Anybody who wishes to present their own personal or group submission to this process can take advantage of our experience and support in making this kind of submission and can contact Recfishwest directly if they would like assistance;
  • Approach DBCA to provide an opportunity for fishers in both Broome and Derby to ask questions directly to DBCA representatives about the proposed marine parks (more details to follow soon); and,
  • Meet with TOs and DBCA to gain a better understanding of what they want the proposed parks to achieve and discuss the importance of the waters in the proposed marine parks to recfishers, particularly from a local perspective.

What’s next?

Recfishwest will be back in Broome and Derby on 16, 17 and 18 March to meet with the DBCA marine park planners to understand what they want the marine parks to achieve and begin to identify a way forward that can meet all stakeholders’ needs.

Dr Rowland said Recfishwest would also be listening closely to Broome and Derby locals to ensure important fishing areas, key species and fishing values are well understood within the process.

The timeline below outlines other key dates in the coming months:

  • 16 March: Recfishwest will be attending DBCA information session for charter boat operators in Broome;
  • 17 March: Recfishwest to attend DBCA information session for fishing club committees. Recfishwest will be available to meet with fishers in Broome on this day;
  • 18 March: Recfishwest will visit Derby to continue conversations with local fishers, with a view to document key fishing areas and workshop potential alternative management arrangements;
  • Week commencing 19 April: Recfishwest will visit Broome and Derby to further consult with local fishers and fishing related business and operators;
  • April/May – DBCA and TOs will run workshops with recreational fishers in April/May to hear their views. Dates are currently being confirmed with DBCA and Traditional Owners and will be advised as soon as possible; and,
  • 21 May – DBCA Submission period closes.

Want to get in touch?

Recfishwest welcome any questions or viewpoints you may have.

Please feel free to contact the team at the Recfishwest office on (08) 9246 3366 or drop Matt a line at

There is a great deal of concern around the potential loss of fishing access. Picture: Unreel Adventure Safaris

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