Fishers call for flexibility on zones
THE Southern Seafood Producers Association WA has called on the State Government to overturn the implementation of Australian sea lion exclusion zones as it denies access to commercial fishers’ traditional fishing zones.
Last month Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced the implementation of exclusion zones in the south and South West of WA. Mr Kelly said the exclusion zones delivered on the State Government commitment to address this longrunning issue and maintain commercial fishing operations.
“We have negotiated with the Federal Government to ensure that these new zones are based on science and around known sea lion breeding colonies,” he said.
“The network of zones seek to balance Australian sea lion conservation concerns, with the need to maintain a viable commercial fishery that delivers economic and social benefits to the community.
“Our commercial gillnet fishers will have to make some adjustments and I acknowledge the impacts this will have on some fishers.”
Association chief executive officer Don Nicholls said businesses would be forced to face multiple challenges.
“These are small family businesses being forced to invest time, money and effort trying to find new ways to keep food on the table,” he said.
“This relates to their own family table and those of the 1.8 million WA consumers that don’t catch their own seafood.
“Our members accept the need for conservation, they have been conserving fish stocks since the State was founded and Southern Seafood Producers and the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development agree there is a need for more science to support an informed decision on this matter in WA.”
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