Fish trap­ping trial sunk by min­is­ter

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A com­mer­cial fish trap­ping trial off the Gas­coyne coast is dead in the wa­ter af­ter Fish­eries Min­is­ter Ken Bas­ton struck down the pro­posal.

The trial would have seen trap­ping be­tween Shark Bay and Co­ral Bay in an ef­fort to re­duce shark pre­da­tion on wet lines, which the Depart­ment of Fish­eries had ar­gued could see a re­duc­tion in over­all fish catches.

Mr Bas­ton said the pro­posal had gen­er­ated sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic in­ter­est and de­bate be­tween the com­mer­cial and re­cre­ational fish­ing sec­tors.

“Tak­ing into ac­count the views put for­ward by all par­ties, on bal­ance, I can­not sup­port this trial,” he said.

Mr Bas­ton said the po­ten­tial im­pact on the re­cre­ational fish­ing sec­tor and lack of in­de­pen­dent re­search on shark pre­da­tion could not be ig­nored.

“These un­cer­tain­ties have led me to not sup­port the fish trap trial, but I have asked for some fur­ther work to be done to ad­dress these is­sues,” he said.

WA Fish­ing In­dus­try Coun­cil chair­man Kim Chance said the de­ci­sion had mas­sive im­pli­ca­tions for other State fish­eries heav­ily re- liant on traps. “In mak­ing this de­ci­sion, the min­is­ter has sided with those claim­ing fish traps pose a se­ri­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal threat to reefs and co­ral ecosys­tems, de­spite sci­en­tific re­search from his own depart­ment that demon­strates oth­er­wise,” he said.

“The min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion also flies in the face of years of ex­pe­ri­ence in Pil­bara and Kim­ber­ley fish­eries where com­mer­cial fish traps are used to sup­ply con­sumers across WA and in­ter­state with fresh, high-qual­ity seafood.”

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia spear­headed the push to dump the trial, gar­ner­ing more than 4000 sig­na­tures for a pe­ti­tion.

“From the mo­ment this is­sue was raised, the Gas­coyne com­mu­nity was united and vo­cal in their op­po­si­tion to the rein­tro­duc­tion of fish traps,” he said.

About 250 sub­mis­sions were made to Rec­fish­west and more than 400 peo­ple at­tended a meet­ing in Carnar­von be­fore the pe­ti­tion was tabled in Par­lia­ment.

These un­cer­tain­ties have led me to not sup­port the fish trap trial. Ken Bas­ton

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