Home' Ausmarine : February 2010 Contents Monitoring of this data against modelled catch projections
suggests that in B Zone, the first half season upper catch limit is
likely to be achieved by late January. This means that without
earlier intervention to restrict catches, B Zone would need to be
closed during the Chinese New Year period.
The situation in C Zone appears to be somewhat less serious at
this time. Model estimates are currently being updated, but it
seems likely that the catch in this zone will fall within the upper
and lower limits for the first half of the season. However, there
may be merit in reducing effort now as a precautionary measure
noting the higher than expected catches currently being
experienced during the "whites". I note that if precautionary
measures are taken now there will be an opportunity to return
effort to the Fishery. This issue could be considered during the
review process mooted for early January 2010.
Both the Department and my office have been contacted by
members of the catching and processing sectors who are concerned
about the economic impact on the industry of allowing large
volumes of low quality product to be taken at the expense of being
able to supply the live market over Chinese New Year.
The Fish Resources Management Act 1994 has as one of its
objects: to achieve the optimum, economic, social and other
benefits from the use of fish resources.
However, the rock lobster industry has not traditionally
favoured Government intervention to address specific market
issues. Although I have received feedback from some industry
members suggesting that the Government should intervene in the
present instance, I wish to obtain a representative industry view,
taking into account both the catching and processing sectors,
before I decide whether to take any action. As the peak industry
body, I request that the Western Australian Fishing Industry
Council (WAFIC) provides me with this view.
Should I decide to act, I intend to amend the West Coast Rock
Lobster Management Plan 1993 (Management Plan) to:
• prohibit fishing in B Zone between December 25, 2009 and
January 10, 2010 inclusive;
• continue the prohibition on fishing on Friday, Saturday and
Sunday each week throughout the remainder of the first half of
the season catch target period in B Zone; and
• prohibit fishing in C Zone between December 25, 2009 and
January 3, 2010 inclusive.
Noting that there is little time to act if legislation is to be in
place by December 25, I ask that WAFIC provides its comments by
email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon on Friday,
December 18. Please note that given statutory consultation
requirements, there is insufficient time to consider alternative
management action if legislation is to be in place by Christmas.
I look forward to WAFIC's response to these matters.
Changes as listed above were, in fact, put in place as noted in a
letter dated December 20, 2009 from the Western Australian
Department of Fisheries, with B Zone fishing prohibited from
December 25 to January 10, with an option to later extend the
period, while C Zone fishing was suspended until January 3.
Fishers were later notified that fishing would recommence in B
Zone on January 25, while fishing in C Zone was further halted
for the period January 16-31. [Yet another once great Australian
fishery doomed by bureaucratic ineptitude -- Ed]
Adult western rock lobster in an aquaculture tank
AUSMARINE February 2010 19
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