Solution for Derby Barramundi Resource Sharing

MEDIA RELEASE 30 October 2018

Solution for Derby Barramundi Resource Sharing

  • Fishing sectors work together to achieve positive solution
  • High abundances are critical to high value fishing experiences
  • More Barra left in the water for local and visiting fishers

We welcome the recent announcement from Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, providing improved recreational fishing opportunities off the Derby coast, after the Minister approved the removal of commercial barra netting for King Sound South.

Recfishwest, the local community, WAFIC (Western Australian Fishing Industry Council) and the local commercial Barramundi licence holder have worked together to present this package to Government which resolves conflict between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors.

The issue was not one of sustainability, but rather how the sustainable catch close to town was shared.

High abundances of Barramundi close to the town of Derby are critical for ensuring high value fishing experiences for this iconic Kimberley species.

In an effort to find an outcome which best meets the needs and aspirations of both recreational and commercial interests, Recfishwest and WAFIC conducted a formal mediation process involving community representatives and the commercial fisher in February of this year.

In May, as an outcome of this mediation, Recfishwest and WAFIC finalised a joint proposal to the Minister for Fisheries that proposed a set of agreed principles which included spatial separation between commercial and recreational fishing sectors as a suitable solution.

An important part of this proposal was that the agreed set of principles would be used for determining compensation for any loss incurred by the commercial licence holder, based on historic catch efforts.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland praised all parties involved in negotiating this outcome.

“Today we are pleased to announce that this matter has been resolved in a manner that satisfied all parties, with the use of compensatory funding from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund,” Dr Rowland said.

“This is the first time that recreational fishing licence money has been used to resolve such a conflict in a specific area and we’re pleased it has been used in this manner that returns benefit to the recreational fishing community.”

This decision sets a precedent for the representational arms of WAFIC and Recfishwest to work with government towards agreed solutions to resource sharing issues.

To read what the Fisheries Minister said, click here.

ENDS

Resource Sharing Concerns for Iconic Kimberley Barramundi

For many years recreational and commercial fishing have co-existed in harmony as commercial fishing operated in areas away from town that recreational fishers rarely visited. Recently though, nets are being set in popular fishing spots only minutes from the boat ramp. This has significantly impacted the quality of fishing experiences for local and visiting fishers.

The Derby-based Mary Island Fishing Club has been attempting to negotiate directly with the commercial fishing operator and believe they have a proposal which provides families with fair and reasonable access to Barramundi while still allowing commercial fishing within 30 minutes of town.

Club spokesperson Sara Hennessy said recent negotiations had broken down.
“Unfortunately we have not been able to make any progress and our fishing has continued to decline,” Sara said.
“The Derby community have always supported the supply of fresh local seafood, but high quality recreational fishing experiences around Derby are an integral part of our lifestyle that we want back.
“We believe we have a solution which will meet the needs of recreational and commercial fishers as well as the greater Derby community.”

 

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said recreational fishing is the lifeblood of many small communities in WA.
“Experiences which see families in the outdoors enjoying the unique and wonderful environment must be protected.”

Recfishwest and the Mary Island Fishing Club are continuing to negotiate with WAFIC and the commercial operator to find a solution that will restore fishing experiences around Derby while still supporting the supply of fresh local seafood.  We will keep you informed of our efforts to restore the balance and regain the equitable combination of recreational and commercial Barramundi fishing the Derby community have enjoyed for decades.

Recfishwest exists to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community

Resource Sharing Concerns for Iconic Kimberley Barramundi

For residents of Derby, fishing for Barramundi is an institution.  The iconic Fitzroy River empties into King Sound right on the town’s doorstep, creating the perfect estuarine environment in which to target Barramundi only minutes from the boat ramp. This type of fishing experience has provided local fishers with safe, accessible, sustainable and enjoyable fishing experiences for decades.

Traditionally, local fishers have maintained an excellent relationship with local commercial fishing operators who have chosen to fish further from town in order to maintain equity between commercial and recreational fishers. These types of agreements are pivotal to the harmony of small communities who rely on accessing shared resources, which is why it is disappointing to learn that gillnet fishing for Barramundi has recently started on the doorstep of Derby following the sale of the local commercial licence.

This has created a large amount of conflict in Derby, with local recreational fishers noticing a decline in fishing quality over recent months. Derby-based Mary Island Fishing Club have been attempting to negotiate a resource sharing outcome which would restore the agreement between the community and the previous licence holder. To date, these negotiations have been unsuccessful.

Recfishwest is assisting the club and their community in their endeavour to restore equitable resource sharing for Barramundi in King Sound.

Recfishwest exists to protect, promote and develop sustainable, accessible, enjoyable and safe fishing for the benefit of the community.