Gordon Hill

Gordon Hill

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    Controls on northern fisheries to stay in force

    9/10/1992 12:00 AM
     
     
    Commercial fishermen have been warned not to gear up to fish off the north coast.
     
    Fisheries Minister Gordon Hill said an adjustment scheme introduced in 1987 would now stay in effect indefinitely.
     
    "It is clear that holders of open west coast licences are still seeking opportunities in other fisheries outside traditional line fishing areas," Mr Hill said.
     
    "But with the introduction of more limited-entry fisheries and management programs, there are fewer opportunities for those fishermen.
     
    "People are gearing up to fish in fisheries proposed for management, including the shark, trap and trawl fisheries.
     
    "Fishermen should not count on access to these fisheries in the future.
     
    "Licensees of wetline boats, which have not been fishing within a specific fishery during the past year, are highly unlikely to obtain access to fisheries proposed for management.
     
    "People who have recently gained entry to such fisheries can also not be guaranteed access in the future."
     
    Mr Hill said a joint initiative with industry had been drawn up in 1987 to reduce the number of commercial Western Australian fishing licences through a Fisheries Adjustment Scheme.
     
    This buy-back plan had been fairly successful in removing about 80 boats from general, open-access fisheries.
     
    At the same time, the Fisheries Department had introduced about 25 limited-entry fisheries or other management programs.
     
    More were expected to be introduced by the end of this financial year.
     
    Management plans were a conservation measure o ensure sustainable development and availability of fish stocks for future generations.
     
    Mr Hill said the State had gradually obtained jurisdiction from the Commonwealth over some northern fisheries such as the Kimberley fish trawl, through the Offshore Constitutional Settlement. This had led to the introduction of management arrangements.
     
    Resource sharing issues - between commercial and recreational fishers and between groups of commercial fishers - had also brought about the need for management plans.