Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA

Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA

Minister for Disability Services; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing; Small Business

    WA secures international sustainable fisheries research funding

    20/04/2022 8:05 AM
    • Two Western Australian research projects receive Ocean Stewardship Fund support
    • WA researchers develop underwater technology to monitor deep-sea crab fishery
    • New project aims to reduce fishing risks to shorebirds in Peel Harvey Estuary 

    Fisheries Minister Don Punch has welcomed grants from the international Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) Ocean Stewardship Fund (OSF), awarded to two Western Australian fisheries research projects to help the State's sustainable fisheries and environments remain resilient.


    The projects have attracted a combined total of £97,080 in grant funding from the UK-based MSC's OSF, equivalent to more than $170,000.


    To better understand deep-sea habitats, a new camera system is being developed by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists and researchers to monitor and assess habitat risks adjacent to crab traps.


    The West Coast Crystal Crab Fishery has held sustainability certification since 2016, and is now working with automated underwater cameras to support the fishery's sustainability into the future. The OSF grant for this new project will help refine the technology.


    The cameras can illuminate deep dark depths up to 1,000 metres below the surface to collect habitat data to inform management measures for the fishery.


    In the Peel Harvey Estuary, the focus of the new research work will be on understanding the impacts of recreational fishing on endangered birds in nearby wetlands, and endangered shorebirds that migrate to Mandurah's popular waterway to feed and roost.


    Six years ago, the Peel Harvey's blue swimmer crab fishery became the first ever recreational fishery in the world to receive joint MSC sustainability certification with commercial fishers catching sea mullet and crabs.


    This newly funded project, supported by MSC's OSF, will bring together scientists, conservationists from Birdlife Australia and the Peel Harvey Catchment Council so that sustainability can help underpin the estuary's social and economic benefits.


    Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:


    "This is another great achievement as we continue to celebrate our State's 10 years of commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council's sustainable fisheries certification program and the 11 WA fisheries that have met these rigorous standards.


    "Recognising and funding the important work of our fisheries scientists supports the ongoing sustainability of our fisheries.


    "Whether it is revealing important information about the birds that share Mandurah's internationally important waterway or using WA-designed cameras that withstand significant pressure to reveal more about deep sea habitats off our coast, this work is highly valuable.  


    "Wherever we fish, we must keep our impact on aquatic environments to a minimum and continue to meet the world's gold standard in fisheries sustainability certification."  


    Minister's office - 6552 6900