Fish trapping trial sunk by minister
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