Lob­ster laws a catch for tourism

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara and Nin­ga­loo tourism op­er­a­tors will look to jump aboard so-called catch-and-cook tourism fol­low­ing a re­lax­ation of rock lob­ster catch laws an­nounced by the State Govern­ment.

The changes mean registered char­ter op­er­a­tors can now catch rock lob­ster all year, guests will not need a li­cence to catch lob­ster when trav­el­ling with a char­ter, and op­er­a­tors can carry lob­ster pots for use by cus­tomers.

Lob­sters caught by pa­trons will be able to be cooked and served by an ac­cred­ited tourism busi­ness or aboard char­ter ves­sels un­der the new laws.

Mack­erel Is­lands chief ex­ec­u­tive Drew Nor­rish said based on re­ac­tions from vis­i­tors, trop­i­cal cray­fish were an at­trac­tion guests would be will­ing to pay for.

“If you are good enough to catch them by hand, the changes of­fer a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide ma­rine-based tours com­bin­ing freshly cooked seafood, which will ap­peal to many mar­ket seg­ments, es­pe­cially in­ter­na­tional trav­ellers,” he said.

Dis­cov­ery Cruises owner Brad Beau­mont said the move would be a boon for op­er­a­tors in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly those go­ing out to the Mon­te­bello Is­lands.

“It gives char­ter boat op­er­a­tors some­thing dif­fer­ent to do and it means fish­eries are se­ri­ously look­ing at tourism,” he said.

“The big pic­ture here is that fish­eries are re­lax­ing and al­low­ing peo­ple to get on and fish.

“I would like to see them get on to giv­ing out shark li­cences, I think that would be ad­van­ta­geous to just about ev­ery­body.” Tourism Coun­cil WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Evan Hall said the move would be a boost for mar­ket­ing WA as a pre­mium in­ter­na­tional seafood des­ti­na­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the lu­cra­tive Asian mar­kets.

Mr Hall said the an­nounce­ment was an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment for ma­rine tourism.

The changes are ex­pected to be im­ple­mented by the end of 2016.

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