De­valu­ing cray fish­ers’ liveli­hoods

The West Australian - - LETTERS -

I agree with the re­cent com­ments by Pro­fes­sor Jes­sica Meeuwig, in­au­gu­ral di­rec­tor of The Cen­tre for Ma­rine Fu­tures at the Univer­sity of WA, that in­creas­ing the cray­fish quota to 8000 tonnes is a cava­lier ap­proach.

She noted the breed­ing stocks that are cur­rently re­ported to be low in some ar­eas of the coast would be af­fected.

Why would the Min­is­ter of Fish­eries Dave Kelly threaten an al­ready frag­ile in­dus­try?

The com­mer­cial West Coast Rock Lob­ster (Man­aged) Fish­ery was the first in the world to be ac­cred­ited by the Ma­rine Ste­ward­ship Coun­cil as an eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able fish­ery, a ma­jor achieve­ment.

The in­dus­try con­trib­utes $28 mil­lion to the econ­omy, with a gross value prod­uct of $500 mil­lion.

Na­tion­al­is­ing this or any in­dus­try is a sov­er­eign risk and will po­ten­tially de­value a valu­able as­set.

We need to ask our­selves, is this what we want our rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s to leg­is­late on our be­half ?

There are at least four gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies in WA who started the cray­fish­ing in­dus­try.

They lived in poverty to make ends meet, scrimp­ing and sav­ing to meet the de­mands the in­dus­try asked of them.

From those ef­forts we now have a lu­cra­tive and well-man­aged, sus­tain­able in­dus­try. Mr Kelly talks about grow­ing the in­dus­try. Na­tion­al­is­ing it is not the way for­ward.

To this date, the in­dus­try has been man­aged pro­fes­sion­ally. The suc­cess of the fish­eries is tes­ta­ment to that. Let us not de­stroy a sus­tain­able en­ter­prise.

Kerri Adams, Fre­man­tle

(Our cor­re­spon­dent’s fam­ily has been in­volved in cray­fish­ing out of Fre­man­tle since 1908).

Pro­fes­sor Jes­sica Meeuwig

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