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.
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.
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.