Marine Park Planning Process Update

Back in February we brought you news of the WA Governments announcement of a new and transparent marine park consultation process.  (click here for a recap)

This week Recfishwest engaged in our first meeting of the new process, involving the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions as well as the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development.

Inclusive marine park planning processes must be in place

From a recreational fishing perspective there are four areas of the state for which we need to be engaged under this new planning phase. These are:

  • A proposed Buccaneer Archipelago Marine Park;
  • A review of and potential changes to the Marmion Marine park;
  • A new marine park on the south coast in an area possibly near Esperance;
  • A land based terrestrial national park at the Abrolhos Islands.

Recfishwest is seeking a better and more inclusive process for future marine planning activities than we have seen in the past. A new process is needed to ensure all of the values and benefits provided to fishing in these areas are captured and recognised within marine park planning. It is vitally important that people who use these areas and live in these regions have maximum opportunity to provide input and that this input is effectively captured within the outcomes of the final management plans.

Public consultation with recreational fishers plays a vital role in marine park planning processes

In the past we’ve found these opportunities to be lacking. This has led to significant impacts on areas that recreational fishers have historically had access to and some good fishing locations have been unnecessarily locked away.

The first meeting was a positive one with the Departments seeking feedback as to what a better process may look like. At the end of the day we all want to ensure a healthy marine environment and have management systems in place that properly look after the areas that we care about.

Marine parks should be underpinned by peer reviewed science and must be implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

Recfishwest will keep you updated with opportunities to have your say throughout the consultation process.

A New Marine Park in the South-west, When Did That Happen?

Recfishwest have received feedback from a number of fishers who have recently travelled to the states South-west in search of a salmon only to find their favourite fishing spot is now part of the Ngari Capes Marine Park. This confusion is hardly surprising given the community has heard very little about this park since consultation was first undertaken well over a decade ago.

The Ngari Capes Marine Park starts about 5km to the east of Augusta and covers the entire Capes region, finishing half way between Capel and Busselton. The management zones for this park were put in place in 2018. Following a 12-month grace period, enforcement of the new fishing regulations has coincided with the start of the salmon season and this has caught many fishers off-guard.

Recfishwest made its first submission on the Ngari Capes Marine Park in 2004 and many passionate fishers in the South-west made excellent contributions during the less than perfect community consultation process. Without the input from Recfishwest and these passionate fishers, the park we see today would have had many more fishing restrictions.

Recfishwest believes recreational fishing is largely compatible with the conservation objectives of marine parks and is an activity that must be recognised as a key value when formulating management plans.

Like most fishers, Recfishwest support marine parks when they are created for the right reasons, put in the right places and implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

To read Recfishwest’s position on marine parks, click here.

Regardless of the process used to create the Ngari Capes Marine Park, the new regulations are now being enforced. It is the responsibility of all fishers to know what type of fishing you can do in each of the parks 15 sanctuary zones, 12 special purpose zones and 2 recreation zones. Whilst most of the Ngari Capes Marine Park still allows fishing, it is important to keep up to date by visiting either the DBCA or DPIRD website or by downloading the Recfishwest App.

The free Recfishwest smartphone app now has a new mapping feature identifying marine park zones that have some form of fishing restriction. The maps are downloadable to your phone, so once you leave phone range you can still view the maps at the touch of a button. When open, the app also sends you notifications once you enter and exit a marine park zone that has different fishing rules.

To unlock these new features, please update your Recfishwest App in the App Store.

For Iphone, click here.

For Android, click here.

Click here to view Ngari capes zoning and permitted uses.

While the process used to create the Ngari Capes Marine Park was far from perfect, Recfishwest was pleased to hear the government earlier this year announced a new and transparent community consultation process for the creation of any new marine parks. Recfishwest have been calling for greater consultation during the marine planning processes for a number of years and hopefully this new process will ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated in the future. 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. To read about the new consultation process click here.

2019 Election and the Return of Federal Labor “Lock Outs”

Recreational fishing in Western Australia is governed by state laws and is largely a state responsibility, so as you prepare to tuck into a democracy sausage on May 18th you could be forgiven for thinking the federal election cannot possibly impact your fishing experience, unfortunately, this is simply not true.

So far this election campaign, the current Coalition government has pledged $29 million for a variety of fishing-based initiatives including $20 million to improve boating facilities and $8 million to restore habitat.

To learn more about the Coalition $29 million commitment click here.

Less than 24 hours after first publishing this article highlighting the fact the Australia Labor Party (ALP) had so far failed to announce any commitments, they pledged $45 million to improve recreational fishing including improving boat ramps, native fish stocking and better consultation processes.

To learn more about the ALP $45 million commitment click here.  

In Western Australia, recreational fishers directly inject $2.4 billion into our local economy every year. The lack of major well-developed commitments by both parties is disappointing, both major parties have failed to fully appreciate just how important fishing is to the community and to the economy.

One area of major difference between the two key parties that is likely to impact on your fishing experience is the way they plan to manage our network of Commonwealth marine parks. The 2019 election is looming as a watershed moment in the way these parks are managed.

Like most fishers, Recfishwest support marine parks when they are created for the right reasons, put in the right places and implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

 

 

 

To read Recfishwest’s position on marine parks click here

Developing Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine parks has been a very long and time-consuming process that started more than 20 years ago. Recfishwest has participated in this process from the beginning and has invested many years of hard work and submitted countless submissions during this time.  In July last year, Australia’s very first complete network of Commonwealth marine parks came into effect, providing Australia with one of the largest areas of marine protection in the world.

To learn more about the history of Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine parks click here.

Despite management plans for Western Australia’s Commonwealth marine parks taking effect on 1st July 2018, the Australian Labor Party has announced it does not intend to let the current 10 year management plans run their course and has committed to replacing the current management plans with ones they developed back in 2012 when last in government.

Recfishwest believe the current management plans provide far better environmental, social and economic outcomes for Western Australia than the 2012 plans ever did. Some examples of the way the current plans provide much better outcomes than the 2012 plans include;

Perth Canyon (Rottnest Trench) Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans retain access to important fishing grounds near Perth including the Rottnest Trench and the Perth Game Fishing Club’s FAD program west of Rottnest while at the same time providing an additional 134km2 of National Park (IUCN II – Green Zone) protection and 1693km2 of Habitat Protection Area (IUCN IV – Yellow Zone) protection. The current management plans also provide protection for two of the three canyon heads compared to the 2012 plans which provided protection to only one.

Geographe Bay Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans align Commonwealth green and yellow zones to similar zones in the state-based Ngari Capes marine park providing much greater shore to shelf connectivity and making it much easier for people to know where the zones are.

Bremer Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans provide an additional 2,888km2 of green zone protection for the Killer Whale aggregations near Bremer Bay, which will completely disappear if the 2012 plans are implemented.

Dampier Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans allow access to pelagic species in the Madeleine Shoals to the North of Legendre Island, while the irregular boundary of the 2012 green zone made it very hard to know if you are inside or outside of the prohibited fishing area.

 Ningaloo Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans have  116km2 of green zones which align to the state marine park boundaries providing shore to shelf connectivity while the 2012 plans didn’t have any green or yellow zones.

Kimberley Commonwealth Marine Park

The current plans provide 4000km2 more green and yellow zones compared to the 2012 plans and they also improve accessibility for Broome fishers who are known to fish within 30nm of the coastline from Cape Leveque to Broome and within 90nm of Broome.

For a full comparison of the zoning between the current plans and the 2012 plans click here:

Commonwealth marine park – 2019 election comparison of zoning

It should be noted that all sectors of the Australian fishing industry fully support the current management plans, which were created following years of consultation and which achieve a good balance between sustainability and the right of Australians to catch fish, eat fish and make a living from the ocean.

To read a joint industry letter supporting the current management plan, click here.

To view fishing identity Al McGlashan’s view on marine parks, click here.

Recfishwest, The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation, Game Fishing Association of Australia, Australian Fishing Trade Association and Seafood Industry Australia have all expressed support for the current management plans, agreeing they achieve an acceptable balance between sustainability and access to Australia’s fish resources. These groups unanimously agree the current plans are a vast improvement on the Frankenstein like 2012 plans Labor wants to bring back to life.

While the Labor Party has been a vocal critic of the current marine park management plans for the Coral Sea they have been largely silent on the current management plans for marine parks in Western Australia. Could this be because the current management plans provide more access to important fishing areas? Or could it be because the current plans provide greater environmental protection in areas where it is needed than the 2012 plans ever did? Or could it simply be the needs of Western Australians are once again playing second fiddle to the Eastern States?

If you get a chance to talk to any of your local candidates in the upcoming election on behalf of the 750,000 Western Australians who go fishing every year, I urge you ask these candidates to pledge their support for maintaining Western Australia’s existing marine park management plans. Regardless of who wins the upcoming election the current management plans are far better than the 2012 plans and all candidates who support fishing and who truly support the environment should support retaining the current plans until they are due for review in 2028.

Marine Parks Mapping Now a Feature of Recfishwest App

Version 3 of Recfishwest’s popular and trusted Smartphone App launched recently with new features built in to make your fishing even more stress free than before.

Simplified rules makes fishing easier for everyone

The new version of the App has a new feature to help fishers better identify and understand where Marine Parks are located in WA and what fishing activities people can and can’t do within each park.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said that with many different Marine Parks Statewide (Commonwealth and State Marine Parks) containing confusing ‘zoning’ rules & information about what fishing activities are allowed in each zone, it was important to simplify the rules for everyone, as currently all of this information is not in one easy to access location.

“We’ve responded to calls from our community to help them better understand WA’s complex Marine Park fishing rules and as the trusted peak body working on behalf of rec fishers we’ve built the new mapping feature in our App to help make their fishing easier,” Dr Rowland said.

”Coupled with WA’s fishing rules, such as bag and size limits, the mapping feature gives all West Aussie fishers confidence they are doing the right thing – and essentially supporting sustainable fishing.”

You will also see a change to the initial App loading screen. Shimano Australia have become Supporting Partners of the Recfishwest App, supporting sustainable fishing in Western Australia.

As a worldwide trusted brand, Shimano believe that supporting WA’s peak body for recreational fishing is good for the industry and great for getting more people out fishing.

Read more about our new partnership here.

 

Here are the new features of Version 3 of the Recfishwest Smartphone App:

The Marine Park Mapping Tool:

Marine Parks maps are available for download prior to heading out of range

Allows people to fish stress free by knowing where the Marine Park Zones are located and what activities you can and cannot do.

The maps are downloadable to your phone, so once you leave phone range, the maps are available to you at the touch of a button. Notifications of Marine Parks will be sent to your screen once you enter and exit a Marine Park (the App must be open to receive Marine Park notifications)

Search Function:

Once a fish is searched and clicked on, upon returning to the search page, you will be returned to your previously searched for fish – rather than being returned to the top of fish search page.

App Store icon on phone

To unlock these new features, please update your Recfishwest App in the App Store.

 

Recfishwest Alert! Marine Parks – Plan To Get Involved

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.

To read our position on marine parks click here.

Commonwealth Marine Parks Finally Settled 

After more than a decade of consultation and countless submissions Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine parks has today finally been settled following the defeat of five disallowance motions in the Senate. It was thanks to the cross bench senators who gave the government the numbers to defeat the disallowance motions 29 votes to 36 and save the 2.3million km2 of marine parks the Greens and Labor wanted to remove. Hopefully all political parties will now leave these management plans in place for the next ten years (as intended) and people can finally have some certainty over how and where we can fish.

Thanks to everyone who provided input and came along with us on this journey over the past decade!

Recfishwest Calls on Australian Senators to Support Marine Park Plans

Recfishwest is urging all Australian Senators to reject the disallowance motions tabled in Canberra this week which would strip Australia of 2.3million km2 of marine protection and undo more than a decade of consultation that went into the creation of the current Commonwealth Marine Parks.

On July 1st, after lengthy consultation, review and public submissions Australia implemented marine park plans for the North, North-west, South-west and Temperate East and the Coral Sea giving Australia the world’s second largest network of Marine Parks.

These new management plans recognise recreational fishing as a key value that is largely compatible with the conservation objectives of marine parks.

While not perfect, these plans are a vast improvement on Labor’s 2012 management plans which planned to lock fishers out of hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of Australians oceans without any scientific justification.

The current plans achieve a balance between marine protection, sustainability and the right of Australians to catch fish, eat fish and make a living from the ocean.

With the disallowance motions scheduled for debate in the Senate this week, some high profile organisations and individuals are making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims about the level of protection provided by the current plans.

Recfishwest, other state representative bodies, the fishing tackle trade and all sectors of the seafood industry support the current management plans and collectively we urge all senators to reject the current disallowance motions.

Recfishwest, the fishing community and our stakeholders have worked hard for years on Marine Park equity for all and we believe the current plans provide just that.

The current plans were developed using best available science with considerable input from all user groups.

It is time for all Australian to celebrate the fact that we lead the world in fisheries management and marine conservation and recognise that we can provide high level protection to our marine environment without the need to remove the community’s access to vast areas of our already well managed oceans.

Recfishwest has no political affiliation and we support the current Management Plans solely based on their merit.

This critical vote is scheduled for Thursday 16th August.  Keep an eye on our website for the latest news once the vote has been held.

 

No Benefit in Changing Marine Park Plans

Recent claims by WA philanthropist Andrew Forrest,  that suggest changes to the current Commonwealth Marine Parks Plans will benefit recreational fishing in WA are simply wrong!

Recfishwest, the fishing community and our stakeholders have worked hard for years on Marine Park equity for all and we believe the current plans provide just that.

The current plans were developed using best available science with considerable input from all user groups.

The value of recreational fishing has been recognised in the current plan, which is a good balance between community fishing access and the environment!

The recreational fishing community are champions of the aquatic environment – we too support plastic free oceans and healthy fish stocks.

We continually invest in projects focused on habitat protection, restoration & enhancement, rejuvenating our waterways and environmental stewardship.

We would welcome any assistance Mr Forrest could provide to help recreational fishers continue deliver these positive outcomes for the marine environment.

Recfishwest support marine parks that are created for the purpose of recreation, science, education, conservation and enhanced visitor experiences. We believe marine park zoning must be underpinned by science and should be implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

 To read more about our position about Marine Parks, visit: https://recfishwest.org.au/news/new-commonwealth-marine-parks-announced/

New Commonwealth Marine Parks Announced

Recfishwest welcomed the latest Commonwealth Marine Reserves Management plans, released in March 2018, which  recognises the importance of fishing in WA.

Recfishwest CEO Dr. Andrew Rowland at Parliament House, Canberra, this week.

Recfishwest Operations Manager Leyland Campbell said these new evidence based management plans deliver a much more balanced approach than we have seen in the past and I am pleased the value of recreational fishing  has finally been acknowledged as a key value of Marine Parks.

“These plans are definitely a large improvement on the plans produced by the previous Government which locked fishers out of large areas of the ocean for no apparent reason.  The plans may not be perfect but they are the best I have seen throughout this whole process. ” Mr Campbell said.

“After years of uncertainty and long drawn-out discussions, today’s announcement is a much better outcome for fishing, a much better outcome for the community and a much better outcome for the environment.”

“These new plans maintain access to many of the iconic fishing locations around WA, including the Rottnest Trench and the South West’s Geographe Bay, both of which had previously earmarked important areas for closure. This means the descendants of West Aussies who have sustainably fished these places for generations can continue to have the same wonderful experiences. Some of the issues of most concern that we raised with the Commonwealth Government appear to have been taken on board.

“I urge everyone to support these new plans as they show a good balance between the needs of all reasonable stakeholders.”

Although these new plans appear to strike a good balance between the needs of all stakeholders the usual groups will no doubt be once again making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims about the level of protection provided by the plans even though these new plans provide the sea floor with 200,000 square kilometres more protection than the previous plans. These usual groups won’t be satisfied until all fishing is stopped or until the political party they identify with is the one to introduce management plans.

“I believe the management plans announced today are most comprehensive and sensible plans released to date and balance the needs of all reasonable stakeholders better than any of the previous plans.  We urge all sensible fishers and community members to support these plans.”

You can access the new plans here.

Recfishwest support marine parks that are created for the purpose of recreation, science, education, conservation and enhanced visitor experiences. We believe marine park zoning must be underpinned by science and should be implemented using simple, practical management that is risk-based, transparent and subject to regular review.

Background on Marine Parks

Developing Australia’s network of Marine Parks has been a very long and time consuming process. Recfishwest has been participating in this process from the beginning and has invested many years and submitted countless submission during this time.

In 1998 Australia committed to establishing a National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (Marine Parks) and developed guideline for establishing these Parks.  In the 14 years that followed there was a procession of science which included Bioregional Profiles and plans, Regulation Impact Statements, social and economic assessments as well as scientific and expert reports.

In 2011 draft marine park proposals for the South-west, North, North-west, Coral Sea and Temperate East Marine Regions were released and in November 2012 a network of Marine Parks was proclaimed.  In many cases the proclaimed Marine Parks had very little resemblances to the 2011 proposals the public were asked to comment on.

In 2013 as part of an election commitment the Coalition government reproclaimed the Commonwealth marine reserves and set up an independent scientific review of the Marine Reserves. This review started in September 2014, undertook a significant amount of public consultation and was completed in December 2015.

Following the review, new and improved management plans were developed and these new plans were released by the Turnbull Government’s this week. You can access the new plans here.

To compare zoning and maps from the old plan to this latest plan click the links below.

North-West Commonwealth Marine Park Zoning comparison

South-West Commonwealth Marine Park Zoning comparison

Recfishwest’s Position Statement on Marine Parks 

 

State Marine Parks & What They Mean for Your Fishing

Love them or loathe them there are a number of state marine parks that are in the process of being implemented. These include the Ngari Capes Marine Park and six new marine parks in the Kimberley at Eighty Mile Beach, Roebuck Bay, Horizontal Falls, Camden Sound, North Camden Sound and North Kimberley.

Before any changes to the fishing rules in these marine parks can take effect they need to be gazetted under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 (CALM Act) and then complementary legislation has to be made under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA).

Consequently, there is a time lag between classification of marine park zones and restrictions on where you can fish taking effect.

Under the CALM Act, authorisations (fishing licences) issued under the FRMA prior to the classification of a marine park remain valid (and rights unaffected) at least until the authorisation expires or is due for renewal.

What this means for you is that once a marine park has been gazette under the CALM Act there will be no changes to the fishing rules within the park for 12 months.

This means that fishing prohibitions will not be introduced under the FRMA until 12 months after the marine park zones are classified under the CALM Act.

This approach ensures that any fishing licences that were current at the time the marine park zones were gazetted can be used to their full extent.

Once a marine park has been gazetted under the CALM Act, fishers will be able to renew their licences and continue fishing throughout the marine park in accordance with their authorisation until the 12 month transition period ends. At the end of the 12 month transition period, fishing licences will remain valid but fishers must then comply with the new marine park fishing rules.

Read Recfishwest’s Position Statement on Marine Parks here.