Hon Ken Baston MLC

Hon Ken Baston MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

    Gascoyne fish trap trial will not go ahead

    21/03/2016 4:30 PM
    • Minister does not support Gascoyne commercial fishing proposal for fish traps
    • Detailed harvest strategy to be prepared for demersal scalefish fishery
    • Independent data to be sought on the impact of shark bite-offs

    The State Government has decided against a commercial fishing industry proposal for a trial of fish traps off the Gascoyne coast.


    Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the proposal had generated significant public interest and debate between the commercial and recreational fishing sectors.


    "Taking into account the views put forward by all parties, on balance, I cannot support this trial," Mr Baston said.


    While acknowledging that the fishery is quota managed and there were no stock sustainability issues involved, the Minister said he had made special note of some specific concerns, including:

    • the potential for a change in commercial catch composition to include a greater percentage of recreationally important non-pink snapper demersal scalefish
    • the potential for trap fishing to occur in areas of high importance to the recreational fishing sector
    • no available independent data regarding the extent of shark predation of recreational and commercial catches
    • the lack of a formal harvest strategy for the Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Fishery.

    "These uncertainties have led me to not support the fish trap trial, but I have asked for some further work to be done to address these issues," Mr Baston said.


    The Department of Fisheries will develop a harvest strategy for the commercial fishery, including the potential impact of alternative gear types and shifts in species composition.


    The issue of shark predation, or bite-offs as many fishers call them, drew debate during the consultation period.  As a result, the department, in liaison with the WA Fishing Industry Council and Recfishwest, will survey commercial and recreational fishers.


    Fact File

    • The Gascoyne Demersal Scalefish Fishery is managed sustainably under a quota

    Minister's office - 6552 5400