Jon Ford

Jon Ford

Minister for Employment Protection; Regional Development; Fisheries; the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne

    Hillarys to kick off series of public briefings on sustainability of iconic fish

    2/10/2007 12:32 PM
     
    2/10/07

    Western Australians were invited to attend public briefings to have their say about how they wanted offshore recreational fishing to be managed in the future, Fisheries Minister Jon Ford said today.

    A series of public briefings would be held this month, with the first briefing to be held in Hillarys on October 9, followed by briefings in Fremantle, Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton and Geraldton.

    At the briefings, the public would have the chance to discuss future options for sustainably managing recreational catches of demersal scalefish such as pink snapper, dhufish and baldchin groper. These species were generally found in deeper offshore waters and targeted by boat fishers.

    The Department of Fisheries would also outline the findings of new research which showed that key demersal scalefish were being over-fished in the West Coast Bioregion, between Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri, and Black Point, near Augusta.

    Mr Ford said this research showed that stocks of key demersal scalefish were at risk of collapsing in four to five years if action was not taken.

    “With the increase in WA’s population, particularly along the coastline, we now have more people in more boats out in our waters and many of these boats are well-equipped with fish-finding technology,” Mr Ford said.

    “While bag limits and other methods of controlling recreational fishing have worked in the past, we now have to find a new set of tools that are more effective in managing recreational fishing, and I want Western Australians to be a part of determining these new tools.”

    In the first step towards developing a new and more effective management strategy for recreational fishing by mid next year, Mr Ford released a discussion paper last month.

    Mr Ford said this month’s public briefings would provide more information to people to help them submit their responses to the discussion paper.

    “It’s vital for Western Australians to get involved in shaping the future of recreational fishing,” Mr Ford said.

    “But before I even get close to releasing final recommendations on the long-term management strategy early next year, I want to find out from the public what their ideas are to ensure we have fish for the future.”

    While these meetings were open to all interested people, the Department of Fisheries would hold a series of separate meetings with commercial wetline fishers to discuss new fishing arrangements.

    Submissions to the discussion paper can be made through the post or online at http://www.fish.wa.gov.au

    Fisheries Management Paper No.225 - ‘Managing the recreational catch of demersal scalefish on the West Coast’ - and the ‘Fisheries Research Report No.163’ on the stock status of key species - are available from the Department’s website.

    The schedule of briefings is:
    Hillarys – October 9 – Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre – 5pm-7pm
    Fremantle – October 10 – Fremantle Sailing Club – 5pm-7pm
    Mandurah – October 11 – Royal Australian Airforce Association Club – 5pm-7pm
    Bunbury – October 16 – All Seasons Sanctuary Golf Resort – 5pm-7pm
    Busselton – October 17 – Broadwater Beach Resort – 5pm-7pm
    Geraldton – October 25 – African Reef Resort Hotel – 5pm-7pm

    Minister's office- 9213 7200