Fisheries Minister Jon Ford has delivered a comprehensive solution to the sharing of fish resources near Busselton and the removal of commercial shoreline fishing from Geographe Bay over a fair and equitable timetable.
“Rapid regional population growth and Geographe Bay’s important tourism role in Western Australia’s South-West have been increasing resource-sharing pressures, however we must apply a fair and balanced approach to resolving the issues,” Mr Ford said.
“I have established a plan to remove the conflict and close a large section of the bay to commercial shoreline fishing activities that have the highest interaction with recreational fishers and other beach users, but the change will be implemented over a reasonable timetable.
“From July 1, 2009, there will be a permanent closure of Geographe Bay between Cape Naturaliste and Port Geographe to salmon fishing and beach seine fishing, which targets bait fish, however in the meantime there will also be time closures during holiday periods.
“Commercial salmon fishing will be prohibited in this area of Geographe Bay on public holidays and long weekends, from Friday to Monday during Easter and between noon Friday and noon on Sunday for weekends during the April school holidays.
“This solution will allow the community to plan ahead, take advantage of the tourism benefits it provides and for commercial operators to be compensated accordingly.”
The Minister said the Government would fund the buyout of the commercial licences through a Fisheries Adjustment Scheme, to address the resource-sharing issues in an equitable way and allow for those fishers to plan ahead.
“The area that will be closed to commercial shoreline fishing covers a significant area of Geographe Bay, however the reason we didn’t close the whole bay off was in reaction to feedback from local people about the availability of fresh local fish supplies,” he said.
“This new initiative, combined with my recent decision to implement a new management plan for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery and the significant adjustments I have made to Zone 1 of the Joint Authority Southern Demersal Gillnet and Longline (shark) Managed Fishery, will address resource-sharing conflicts in the Geographe Bay area.”
Adjustments in the shark fishery include an overall effort reduction of 30 per cent, with some gillnet and longline licensees experiencing individual reductions of greater than 60 per cent and a two-month pupping closure to prohibit fishing in the area from mid-August to mid-October.
Minister's office: 9213 7200