Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly has again confirmed the McGowan Government’s commitment to growing the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery, to not only improve earning potential for existing fishers but also using a portion of its unfished capacity to benefit Western Australia’s community.
The Minister has also reassured WA’s Fishing Industry Council that this is not a broader strategy to be applied to other State fisheries; it is about a new and unique opportunity for the rock lobster fishery.
The West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery is a community-owned resource and the new, innovative plan to grow the industry arises from circumstances that will allow everyday Western Australians to get a better flow of benefits from Australia’s most valuable crustacean fishery.
As announced yesterday (December 20), plans are already progressing for Western Australia’s first-ever international lobster festival, and there will be other ways to support local jobs and the economy and give the community a closer connection with our unique and famous crayfish.
Our West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery is ecologically sustainable, having met the Marine Stewardship Council’s high standards to hold the MSC eco-tick since 2000.
As noted by Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
“There will not be Government-owned units in other commercial fisheries in WA.
“I have given this assurance to WA Fishing Industry Council Board and Chair, Mr Ron Edwards. He has accepted this assurance. The high profitability and high value of the rock lobster fishery is not replicated in other WA commercial fisheries.
“Unlike other fisheries in our State, the low levels of exploitation in the western rock lobster fishery has created a situation where there is a significant unfished component for which the community is receiving no return.
“It’s time to ensure there is a future economic contribution of the western rock lobster resource that flows back to Western Australians. The additional unfished component of this fishery, which can be taken sustainably, will further benefit the current fishers and generate new opportunities that will more directly fund key priorities for the community, like health and education.
“Through a range of new initiatives we can double the value of the industry and significantly increase the supply of lobsters into the local market and do it in a sustainable way.”