No rec fishing bans for proposed WA marine park

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Image: David Green

THE West Australian Government has released plans for a new marine park on Broome’s world renowned coast, in the process revealing the Roebuck Bay Marine Park will not include sanctuary zones that ban recreational fishing.

Releasing the plans in Broome last Friday, Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the proposed Yawuru Nagulagun/Roebuck Bay Marine Park, which covers most of the bay itself, and the Yawuru Birragun Conservation Park were two of Broome’s natural jewels.

“The plans set out how these areas will be jointly managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Yawuru native title holders,” Mr Jacob said.

”The natural and cultural values of these areas are globally significant and the plans will help to enhance Broome’s standing as an internationally renowned tourism destination and gateway for experiencing the Kimberley.”

The Minister said the release of the plans for public comment underlined the State Government’s commitment to working with traditional owners in jointly managing natural areas and the significant progress under the Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy.

“For thousands of years Yawuru ngarrungunil people have lived along the foreshores of Roebuck Bay and these plans detail how the areas will be jointly managed to conserve and promote Yawuru culture and heritage,” he said.

“The Yawuru conservation estate’s natural rugged beauty, semi-remote environments, spectacular turquoise waters and abundant wildlife offer a variety of attractions and opportunities for cultural use, nature-based tourism and recreation, as well as a range of compatible commercial uses.”

In a proposal that has angered conservation groups, the WA Government’s new marine park comes around a decade after the former Labor government flagged plans for a marine conservation area off Broome, home to some of WA’s best game fishing.

The West Australian reports the Government opted against including no-fishing areas after buying the remaining professional licences and closing the commercial fishery two years ago.

Tim Nicol, the Kimberley spokesman for conservation group Pew Charitable Trusts, said the Government deserved credit for ending commercial fishing in the bay but the marine park would lack credibility if it did not have no-fishing zones. He said the Government would undermine its own “good form” after it established several others elsewhere that had sanctuary zones.

Recfishwest boss Andrew Rowland welcomed the prospect of no sanctuary zones, saying the abundance of fish in Roebuck Bay had never been better and showed the zones were not warranted.

“We’ve always said we believe conservation and the fishing community can go hand in hand,” Dr Rowland said.

Read more at: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/28495119/broome-to-be-spared-fishing-ban/

The draft plans are open for public comment until Friday, September 25, 2015 and are available at http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/yawuru

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