Offshore fisheries management near Western Australia will be strengthened with changes agreed to by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, and the Western Australian Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston.
The changes to the Offshore Constitutional Settlement arrangements between the Commonwealth and Western Australia were agreed to at the Fisheries Ministers Meeting in Melbourne in December and implementation will begin immediately.
Senator Colbeck said the Australian Government is committed to a collaborative approach to fisheries working with the jurisdictions on ways to streamline regulations and reduce red tape.
"We are committed to ensuring Australian managed fisheries have current regulations and arrangements that allow for the best possible management," Senator Colbeck said.
The first change will correct errors and update the inshore boundaries of two Commonwealth trawl fisheries off Western Australia and will eliminate uncertainties for both State and Commonwealth operators.
The second change will enable Commonwealth monitoring and prevention of illegal foreign fishing activity in the Australia-Indonesia 'MoU Box' - an area of Australian waters off Western Australia where traditional fishing by Indonesian nationals is permitted.
"The revised arrangements will strengthen Australia's stance against illegal foreign fishing and ensure the protection of fisheries resources and marine environment in waters off North-Western Australia," Senator Colbeck said.
Mr Baston said the changes highlighted the collaborative approach between Western Australia and the Commonwealth to work together for healthy, sustainable Australian fisheries.
"Continuous improvement of arrangements is a key process in the management of Australian fisheries and ensures that Australia remains a leader in global fisheries management practices," Mr Baston said.
"The new arrangements will be underpinned by a MoU between the two governments which will require complementary harvest strategies and other safeguards to ensure sustainable management of fish stocks in both Commonwealth and State-managed fisheries."
WA Fisheries Minister's office - 6552 5400