The petition opposing proposed nine-month west coast demersal ban has clocked more than 17,000 signatures making it the biggest online Parliamentary petition in WA history.
Thousands signed the petition over the course of last week’s Perth Boat Show – and since then it’s gone up nearly another 2,000 and continues to climb.
Our team attending the Boat Show spoke to thousands of fishers, tackle store owners and local boat dealers and manufacturers – many with grave concerns about the future of their fishing, livelihoods and their jobs.
It was the same story Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland heard on the road last week visiting coastal fishing communities and local tackle store owners from Geraldton to Augusta.
Have a listen to some of the things we heard at the Boat Show in the video below from fishers and members of the fishing tackle and boating sectors.
Andrew said, “It’s no wonder there is so much angst out there when you consider the proposed ban would halt fishing for more than 100 demersal species, including dhufish and pink snapper across 900 km of coastal waters for nine months of the year for the next eight years.
“The proposed area of the ban from Augusta to Kalbarri is home to 90 per cent of the WA population – so the fall-out will be huge for fishing and all the small business owners along the coast who depend on it for their livelihoods.”
Asking the Government to come back to the table
“There is a better way to help speed up the recovery of the fish stocks without the devastating impact on fishing and all the benefits it brings to the community and the WA economy. That’s why we are working to develop a more sensible way forward with Government,” said Andrew.
“We agree with the Government that more needs to be done to speed up the recovery of these fish – but as the Premier himself said on the radio last weeky, ‘The question is how?” So, let’s have a serious discussion around the alternative measures we developed to ensure the recovery curve keeps going up without the dire consequences of what is being proposed.
“Let’s not forget we developed our recommendations to Government over several months, drawing on our own expertise as well as that of a panel of fishing experts. Our advice was informed by feedback from thousands of WA recreational fishers, DPIRD fisheries data and in consultation with DPIRD researchers and managers. Surely, this advice warrants serious consideration by the Minister and DPIRD?
We want there to be dhufish forever – which is why we are recommending Government introduce a dhufish spawning closure for the recreational, commercial and charter sectors.
So what does the alternatives to a nine-month ban look like?
It is better protection of spawning fish, better fishery management including an additional closure period, better rules, better education and better data to ensure west coast demersal fish for the future.
Recfishwest received a huge amount of support at the show for what we are doing – we want to thank you as it means a great deal to the team and drives us forward in our purpose to protect and create sustainable and enjoyable fishing for the community.
Many continue to ask us what more they can do to voice their concerns – so please consider the following:
- Sign the petition if you haven’t already done so and encourage your family and mates to do the same;
- Contact your local Member of Parliament and let them know how the proposals will impact you and your family. Find tips on how to reach out to your local MP here.
- Call up your local talk back radio station and let people out there know what fishing means for you and your family and how there is a better way to speed up the demersal recovery than what is being proposed. For those in the Perth area – there’s 6PR and ABC mornings for starters!
- Write a letter to the West Australian newspaper – all letters must be SIGNED and include the writer’s full-name, address (not postal) and telephone number.
- Encourage your family and friends to join Recfishwest – send a clear message that recreational fishers are united in supporting a more sensible outcome. They can join through this link here.
“Let’s keep working together to get our voices heard – we need to make sure the Government is listening – after all there are 700,000 of us!,” said Andrew.
Big thanks to the thousands of you who joined us at the Perth Boat Show and gave us your support.