With almost all of WA’s marine fisheries closed for at least a year due to heavy rain, some fisheries managers are calling for a rethink on what they consider to be a vital source of revenue for the state.
“It’s an opportunity that’s been missed by a long time, a very long time,” James Gulliver, chief executive of the WA Fisheries Federation, said.
“It’s been very hard to get a good sense of what the impact of a cyclone would be on our industry, but we can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity.”
Under the WA Marine Fishing Regulations, all fish caught in WA must be tagged and tagged with a GPS device.
The government says it has recorded over 2,000 tonnes of fish caught between October and December 2016, with around 3,500 tonnes of that going into the WA Stock and Aquaculture Industry.
In a bid to help fish managers manage the changing waters, Mr Gullivers group is calling for more than 100 measures to be implemented to improve the way fish are caught.
Under the proposal, a tagged fish will be released at a designated time and place, it will be caught and tagged at a facility and it will then be placed in an offshore holding facility.
“We’ve got an opportunity to improve catch efficiency,” Mr Gullyer said.
“And I think the public will be very pleased with the results.”
But there are also calls to relax the tagging requirements.
“The fish that are tagged will be held for about six months and then released.
That means that they’re not being tagged at the time of capture, they’re being tagged in the early morning or evening, and they’re probably in the harbour for three or four days, not necessarily for the whole of the week,” Mr Latham said.’
It’s a real shame’While Mr Lathons group is optimistic about the potential, they are calling on the WA Government to rethink the requirements to ensure it is more sustainable.
“I don’t think it’s a bad idea to take a look at what’s happened in the last six months to ensure that we’re keeping fish for the long term,” he said.
In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the WA Department of Fisheries and Wildlife said: “It is essential that the catch is sustainable for fish.
There are currently some measures in place to help with this, but more work needs to be done to make sure fish catches are sustainable.”