Recfishwest is bitterly disappointed by today’s discussion paper released by the Government on the future of WA’s dhufish and snapper fishery.
The discussion paper has ignored key recommendations put forward by Recfishwest, including a spawning closure to protect dhufish and a properly funded voluntary fisheries adjustment scheme to ensure a long-overdue fairer restructure of the fishery.
Recfishwest’s recommendations were developed following months of extensive consultation with the fishing community. Under the Government’s proposals, WA’s 40,000 west coast demersal scalefish fishers could be locked out of fishing for iconic recreational fishing species dhufish and pink snapper for nine months a year.
- It’s more important than ever to get sustainable management right;
- However the Government proposals fail to protect spawning dhufish, are inequitable and represent a “complete failure of fisheries policy;
- 40,000 recreational fishers access the West Coast demersal scalefish fishery every year with WA recfishers spending $2.4 billion a year on fishing; and
- 6,000 recreational fishers completed Recfishwest’s survey on the future of west coast demersal scalefish fishery to help develop Recfishwest’s recommendations to Government.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “The package of recommendations we made to Government was well balanced and focussed on protecting the sustainability of the fish while delivering the best social and economic benefits.
“Whereas, the Government’s discussion paper suggests constraining the recreational sector to a nine-month closure, while commercial fishing continues all year round – this is completely unacceptable to our sector.
“The opportunity to set this fishery on a secure pathway through proper reforms should not be missed and this discussion paper represents a complete failure of fisheries policy which destroys value rather than creates it.
“The Minister has an obligation to ensure a sustainable catch delivers the highest and best use to the community and we believe the primary management measures outlined in today’s discussion paper do not even come close to achieving this.
“We will be examining the consultation papers we only received today and provide the fishing community with our thoughts to assist them in providing a response.”