City of Cockburn to crackdown on fishing

Cockburn environment manager Chris Beaton in front of the Eco Shark Barrier at Coogee Beach. Picture: Jon Hewson d471443
Cockburn environment manager Chris Beaton in front of the Eco Shark Barrier at Coogee Beach. Picture: Jon Hewson d471443

ANGLERS could be banned from fishing at local conservation areas in a move the City of Cockburn says will protect people and the environment.

Cockburn councillors voted on Thursday in favour of advertising their intention to amend the City’s local law, giving council staff the power to prohibit fishing at sites including Lake Coogee in Munster and Coogee’s Eco Shark Barrier and Maritime Trail.

The City currently has little authority, with a report to councillors highlighting “rangers are powerless to prevent fishing from occurring”.

If the amendment is gazetted, anglers breaking the law could be penalised up to $5000.

City of Cockburn environment manager Chris Beaton said the changes would have many benefits.

“The amendment will reduce the likelihood of injury or entrapment for both residents and wildlife, reduce litter and limit habitat destruction in selected areas,” he said.

In a report to councillors, City officer James Ngoroyemoto said several conservation areas contained fish vital to native wildlife.

“In recent times it has been noted that people have been fishing using line and nets in Lake Coogee and other natural and constructed wetlands,” he said.

“This can adversely impact on the environment for a number of reasons, as well as the amenity of other residents.”

Cockburn councillor Phil Eva said residents had said rubbish, including discarded fishing gear, was being dumped and there were cases where people were “going away with eskies full of fish” nabbed from the lake.

“It was a concern and now it’s being acted on,” he said.

“It’s a good outcome.”

In his report, Mr Ngoroyemoto said there was also the need to establish a ‘no fishing zone’ along the Coogee Maritime Trail and the Eco Shark Barrier.

“The Coogee Maritime Trail artificial reef structures were installed to establish much needed habitat for local fish species as well as providing a recreation and educational resource for the community,” he said.

“There is potential for people to become ensnared in fishing line, jabbed by hooks or be hit by sinkers while scuba diving and snorkelling and being accidently injured by spear guns or similar devices.

“There are also some concerns that the use of burley to attract fish at these sites will also attract larger species such as sharks.”

Mr Beaton said a “considerable amount” of fishing line, hooks and sinkers had been found tangled in the barrier and at the trail.

The proposed amendment will be advertised for six weeks.

Cockburn Power Boats Association general manager John Tissott said the CPBA, which has a sport fishing arm, would consider the amendment once it is out for public comment.

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