The following is something that we think you should know:
Future marine parks in the Kimberley and possibly the Metropolitan area and South Coast near Esperance will be progressed over the next 5 years under what Recfishwest understand to be a new and transparent community consultation process announced by the WA Government today (20th Feb).
For years Recfishwest have been calling for greater consultation during the processes of marine park planning. This announcement signals increased opportunities for fishers to be heard through a comprehensive consultation process.
Good consultation leads to positive outcomes that are supported by the community. The Roebuck Bay marine park is a perfect example of how marine park planning can be done right.
The Roebuck Bay marine park achieves all conservation objectives without restricting fishing access, while at the same time protecting the habitat that supports a world class threadfin salmon fishery right on the doorstep of Broome. This park demonstrates recreational fishing is compatible with the conservation objectives of marine parks.
Historically, the early planning process for marine park planning in Western Australia has failed to adequately consider the needs of the fishing community. This has resulted in fishers being excluded from selected areas for no apparent reason and consequently losing faith in the process.
While there are a number of issues in existing marine parks that still need to be resolved as well as a number of existing management plans that are overdue for review, the announcement hopefully represents a turning point in marine park management in Western Australia.
Recfishwest support marine parks that are created for the purpose of recreation, science, education, conservation and enhanced visitor experiences. We believe marine parks should be underpinned by peer reviewed science and implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.
It’s vital that all of us engage at every opportunity. This will ensure what’s important to us is recognised as part of marine planning processes. Silence from the fishing community will mean the things you care most about may be put at risk.
Recfishwest will keep you updated with opportunities to have your say throughout the consultation process scheduled for March to August this year.
To view the Government’s ‘Plan for our Parks’ click here.