A new $800,000 fisheries patrol boat was commissioned and named in Fremantle today by Fisheries Minister Gordon Hill.
The 20m patrol boat features the latest in satellite navigation technology and has been specifically designed for offshore fisheries patrol work along the west coast.
"This new craft is part of the State Government's continuing boat replacement program, and will be used mainly in the management of Western Australia's lucrative $200 million a year rock lobster industry," Mr Hill said.
"Every year the fishing fleet becomes increasingly mobile and efficient, and it is important that we have the right tools to properly manage the industry.
"This season, with the introduction of new conservation measures for the rock lobster breeding stock, it is particularly important to ensure that the Fisheries Department can efficiently inspect fishing boats at sea."
Mr Hill said that the new patrol boat was named PV `McLaughlan' in honour of recently retired Director of Fisheries Operations Neil McLaughlan.
"Traditionally fisheries patrol boats have been named after navigators who have contributed to our understanding of the Western Australian coastline and waters," Mr Hill said.
"This year we have chosen to break with tradition by recognising the enormous contribution Neil McLaughlan has made to the successful management of our valuable fish resources over the past 40 years."
The new patrol boat was designed and built in Geraldton by a WA company, and features a high-speed aluminium hull and accommodation for between four and six crew.
Twin V12 engines drive the boat to a top speed of more than 28 knots and give the boat a range of about 1,200 nautical miles.
The new patrol boat replaces the 18-year-old PV `Philip King', and will be based initially at Geraldton for fisheries patrols between Jurien Bay and Carnarvon.