Jon Ford

Jon Ford

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

    New commercial scalefish fishery for west coast back on track

    29/02/2008 12:00 AM

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford announced today that compensation for commercial fishermen affected by new laws was back on track following the withdrawal of a disallowance motion in Parliament this week.


    Mr Ford said bipartisan support for moving forward with the recently established West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery meant that implementation of three financial assistance schemes could now proceed.


    Legislation for the new West Coast Demersal Scalefish Fishery, which came into effect on January 1, is part of a range of measures needed to reduce catches of demersal scalefish such as dhufish, pink snapper and baldchin groper by all fishing sectors.


    “The three schemes will provide some financial assistance for loss of access for licensed fishers affected by the new management arrangements, which includes the commercial wetline ban in the Metropolitan Fishing Zone,” the Minister said.


    “The new fishery is a critical part of managing the overall impact of fishing on our vulnerable dhufish and other similar species in this heavily used area between Augusta and Kalbarri.


    “Another critical component of sustainably managing our fish stocks is to ensure recreational fishing regulations are kept abreast with increasing pressures. I will soon release the final recommendations for recreational fishing of demersal scalefish along the west coast for public comment.


    “However, I recognise that some commercial fishermen have been disadvantaged by new measures, and as I announced last year, $7.6million has been set aside to adjust commercial fishing activity.”


    Licensed fishers affected by the ban on commercial scalefishing in the metropolitan zone, between Lancelin and south of Mandurah, will be considered for act of grace payments as compensation for reduced fishing access in this area.


    Two fisheries adjustment schemes (FAS) will be established to accept applications from licence-holders who have not gained entry to the new fishery and shark fishers impacted by reduced fishing access under the new fishery.


    A scientific assessment of these stocks of fish released last year indicated significant depletion in many areas and signalled that an overall 50 per cent reduction in catch was required in order to ensure sustainability.


    “Everyone has to play their part in reducing the pressures on our fish stocks so that we ensure fish for future generations,” Mr Ford said.


    Minister's office  - 9213 7200