For­mer min­is­ter wants shark trap­ping trial to go ahead

Pilbara News - - State Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

A for­mer WA fish­eries min­is­ter has lamented the loss of a fish trap­ping trial as shark bite-offs con­tinue to plague an­glers in the North West.

The pro­posed trial off the Gas­coyne coast was knocked back last year af­ter crit­i­cism led by North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia scup­pered the plan be­cause of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns from the recre­ational fish­ing sec­tor.

The trial would have in­volved trap­ping be­tween Shark Bay and Coral Bay to re­duce shark pre­da­tion on wet lines.

Lib­eral Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Ken Bas­ton, who made the de­ci­sion as fish­eries min­is­ter to can the trial af­ter mount­ing pub­lic pres­sure, said he would still like to see the trial go ahead.

Mr Bas­ton said re­search would have in­formed the Gov­ern­ment where to draw a line which would ex­clude fish trap­ping on the coastal side and al­low it for an­glers on the sea­ward side.

“Ab­so­lutely I would, only be­cause of the dam­age the sharks are do­ing to the fish stock for com­mer­cial fish­ing,” he said.

“I think we do need some re­search so we can ac­tu­ally make a de­ter­mi­na­tion be­cause it isn’t as sim­ple as just fol­low­ing the 100m depth line.”

Mr Cata­nia said Mr Bas­ton’s con­tin­ued sup­port for a fish trap­ping trial showed he was “out of touch”. “If you call 400 peo­ple turn­ing out to the town hall in Carnar­von the si­lent ma­jor­ity, that shows you how out of touch the Lib­eral Party is,” he said.

“Yes, we have to deal with the shark prob­lem, but not by cre­at­ing an­other prob­lem.”

Mr Cata­nia said 5000 peo­ple had signed a pe­ti­tion against fish trap­ping when the trial was pro­posed

Mr Bas­ton said fish trap­ping was al­ready used in the North West with lit­tle op­po­si­tion.

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