WA Government rejects calls for more marine parks

THE WA Government has rejected calls by conservationists for more of the state’s waters to be out of bounds to fishing under proposed marine sanctuaries.

WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has responded to proposed boundaries for a national marine park network that takes in areas off the West’s coastline as outlined on a map reportedly “leaked” by stakeholders.

“I am not opposed in principle to ‘no take’ zones provided they are established to meet clear, measurable objectives, and biodiversity conservation outcomes that cannot be delivered through fisheries management arrangements,” Moore said.

“I do not support the ‘lock up’ of an area if other management systems and processes can be implemented to protect certain species and biodiversity values.

“Western Australia’s fisheries are well managed and regarded as some of the best managed in the world and as such, I do not see the need for the extensive network of ‘no take’ zones proposed by the Commonwealth.

“The Federal Government is always saying we should pursue evidence-based policy. In this case, it is just drawing lines on a map without any real regard for environmental outcomes or the long-term impacts on the Western Australian and broader Australian communities and businesses.”

The Minister said the State Government had provided the Commonwealth a comprehensive and considered submission on the proposed plan.

“We are still yet to receive any information about the points raised and about the process going forward. This leaves the State Government and WA community uncertain and concerned about the future access to our most precious waters and aquatic resources.”

The proposed sanctuary zones off WA’s coast include the State’s rock lobster fishery off the Abrolhos Islands and in prime South-West recreational fishing areas, north of Busselton and Geographe Bay.

The Minister said he was prepared to work with the Federal Government to reach an agreed position.

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