A BUYBACK scheme for commercial fishing licences in the Peel-Harvey Estuary will be formally gazetted tomorrow.
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced the scheme today, with $1.5m allocated for commercial fishing licences.
The aim of the scheme is to ensure the future health of the Peel-Harvey Estuary and improve recreational fishing experience.
Commercial fishers who wish to apply for the West Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery Voluntary Fisheries Adjustment Scheme will have until April 30, 2019 to submit their offers.
Mandurah’s waterways host the most popular recreational crab fishery in WA, which is also fished by a limited number of licensed Peel-Harvey commercial fishers. The fishery is also the first joint recreational and commercial fishery to be accredited with a Marine Stewardship Council eco-tick.
In June this year, a Committee of Management was established to consider the desirability of a buyback scheme for the fishery. The committee endorsed the views of Recfishwest and the WA Fishing Industry Council to establish a voluntary fisheries adjustment scheme to facilitate a resource reallocation from the commercial to the recreational sector.
The buyback scheme will enable a greater recreational allocation of blue swimmer crabs and yellowfin whiting.
“I am proud to be delivering another election commitment from the McGowan Government to improve recreational fishing experiences in WA,” Mr Kelly said.
“The Peel-Harvey Estuary has been a source of conflict between the recreational and commercial sectors over access to blue swimmer crabs and yellowfin whiting catches.
“This scheme is aimed at removing conflict.
“The scheme is designed to make more crabs available to recreational fishers, while still providing a supply of commercially caught crabs to the local market.”
Mandurah MLA David Templeman said maintaining stocks of Mandurah crabs for recreational fishers is very important.
“It will ensure recreational fishers will have access to sustainable crab stock, while the commercial catch is still available to provide for businesses, restaurants and the local market,” he said.
A component of the $1.5m funding comes from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.