Derby Barramundi Triumph: Mutual Solution Achieved for Both Commercial and Recreational Fishing Sectors in Northern WA

After months of negotiations, an amenable solution to the resource sharing challenge in Derby has now been resolved.

The Hon. Dave Kelly, Minister for Fisheries, announced yesterday the approval of a permanent commercial fishing closure for King Sound South with appropriate compensation to the commercial fishing operator – including permission of continued access to supply fresh fish to our WA community.

An outcome of the mediation, will see the resident barramundi commercial fisher adequately compensated for the area foregone AND allowed continued access to supply fresh fish to our WA community. PHOTO: Northern caught Barramundi with chips

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), John Harrison from the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), has commended the positive balanced outcome and the roles of the peak bodies, WAFIC and Recfishwest, to solve a difficult resource sharing problem.

“Resource sharing will continue to be an ongoing issue for both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors in the future and our collaborative leadership will be relied upon to create solutions acceptable to both sectors.”

“The Derby situation is an encouraging example of a resource outcome which meets the future needs of both commercial and recreational interests by working together towards a set of agreed principles,” he said.

Mr Harrison said that the issue arose as the high abundances of barramundi catch near Derby was an important resource objective shared by both sectors.

“Barramundi is deemed as a high-value species – with the resident commercial fisherman relying on the sustainable supply of barra and other catch to ensure the seafood loving community has access to local, fresh fish in restaurants. These same species are equally popular for recreational fishing experiences around the Derby townsite,” he said.

To find an amicable solution – WAFIC, Recfishwest, the commercial fisher and the Derby community engaged in an independent mediation process with stakeholder representatives and advisors.

Mr Harrison acknowledged the tireless contribution and patience of the fisherman throughout the lengthy process of reaching agreement.

“We praise the fisherman for his understanding and input in this extensive, complicated and emotive situation.”

“The resolution, an outcome of the mediation, will see the resident barramundi commercial fisher adequately compensated for the area foregone.”

Concluding Mr Harrison said that going forward he believes that this example could be the first for a number of WA fisheries that may require mediation.

“We will continue to work closely with Recfishwest and our stakeholders to ensure a positive pathway forward for these resource issues.”

“Throughout these procedures, our objective is to guarantee that our fishers will have their voice heard and be adequately reimbursed when the situation is required.”

“We also want to ensure the wider community, who may or may not fish recreationally, have guaranteed access to sustainable, locally-caught Western Australian seafood for generations to come,” he concluded.

Derby Barra Exclusion Area

Click for Minister Kelly’s Article 

Click for Recfishwest Article


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Media Contact

Danika Gusmeroli

Communications Officer

(08) 9432 7710

communications@wafic.org.au