Fisheries Policy released in the West

THE WA State Government has released a policy statement setting out its strategy for future management of WA’s fisheries and aquatic resources.

Department of Fisheries’ Director General Stuart Smith said the policy, which had been launched this week by Fisheries Minister Norman Moore, was supported by the WA Government’s commitment to sustainability.

“Western Australia’s fisheries have undergone significant change in recent years to ensure their sustainability and we are now laying the foundations that will help maintain confidence and security for fishers and the community, through world-best management,” Mr Smith said.

“With new legislation planned, new technology to change the way fisheries are managed and the recent commitments to independent sustainability assessments, a strong policy platform is vital to building further confidence, certainty and security.

“The new Fisheries Policy Statement, a first for the Department of Fisheries, was developed in liaison with the WA Fishing Industry Council and Recfishwest; the State’s peak fishing bodies. It’s an opportunity for the Government to recognise the importance and contribution of both the commercial and recreational sectors to Western Australia’s lifestyle and economy.”

While the policy outlines the economic importance of commercial fishing to the state, the value of recreational fishing to West Australians is highlighted also, albeit from data from the late 1990s: It is estimated that over 600,000 Western Australians participate in recreational fishing each year, generating significant economic activity.

In 1998, a study estimated that recreational fishing in Western Australia had an economic value of $569 million (direct and indirect) and created up to 7,000 full-time jobs, having particular importance in coastal towns and rural areas. While more recent economic data quantifying the value of Western Australia’s recreational fisheries is not available, it is generally accepted that the value of this sector has continued to grow over the past decade (and will continue to grow with population increases).

A copy of the Fisheries’ Policy Statement is available at

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