Recfishwest continues to work with DPIRD, the Fisheries Minister and the State Government towards a sensible outcome that ensures west coast demersal fish stocks continue to recover without wrecking the lifestyle and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of WA fishers.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland met with the Fisheries Minister, Don Punch, last week and had a “frank, but constructive” conversation around the Government’s proposals – further discussions have also taken place with DPIRD fisheries managers around our alternative proposals.
“I reiterated our sector’s commitment to sustainability and our opposition to a nine-month ban when there are alternative effective measures available,” said Andrew, “The meeting with the Minister was frank, but the communication lines appear to be now open. While the official public consultation period is over, we have received assurances from Government that no decisions have been made. The Minster also told Parliament he has committed to re-discussing the issue with Recfishwest prior to any decision being made.
“We are continuing to meet with DPIRD and we’re pleased that the conversation is continuing. We’re having discussions around solutions that put the fish first, while delivering a more balanced outcome than the Government’s initial nine-month proposal.
“As WA’s not for profit, independent peak sector recfishing body, it’s really important that Recfishwest continues to impress upon Government that the 700,000-plus West Aussie fishers we represent, who spend $2.4 billion on fishing every year, is too important as a sector to neglect.”
A loud and clear message from the WA fishing community
Andrew spent the previous week out on the road talking to local fishing club members and tackle store owners from Geraldton to Augusta. The Recfishwest team also had a big presence at this year’s Perth Boat show and we would like to thank the thousands of fishers who came and gave us their support.
“What we continue to hear from our community hammers home the level of concern there is out there about the future of our fishing lifestyle, community life and associated small businesses.
“It also highlighted how united our community is in finding a better way to speed up the recovery of the fish stocks without the social and economic fall-out of a nine-month demersal ban. The Government needs to understand this.”
“The messages we have received loud and clear from fishers, fishing clubs and businesses is everyone cares deeply about sustainability, supports protection of fish during peak spawning times and are happy to support science-backed rule changes. There is also great concern about fair and equitable sharing of publicly-owned fish stocks and the lack of consideration given to the social and economic impacts of management proposals.”
The online petition is another example of just how much the fishing community’s oppose the Government’s proposals. At nearly 18,000 signatures, it is the biggest online Parliamentary petition in WA history! There’s still time to sign it if you haven’t already done so, but be quick as we hear it is planned to be tabled in Parliament next week.
What you can do
While the official community public consultation is over, the Government is yet to make a decision – so you can still make your views known by:
- Contacting your local MP and let them know how the proposals will impact you and your family. Find tips on how to reach out here.
- Calling your local talk back radio station and let listeners know what fishing means for you and your family. 6PR and ABC mornings are great places to start in Perth.
- Writing 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.
- Sign the petition if you haven’t already and encourage your family and mates to do the same.
- Become Recfishwest members to show recfishers are united in support a more sensible outcome.
Let’s keep working together to make sure the Government continues to listen – our collective voice must be heard!
(Feature image sourced from Ozfish website)