A Message From Our CEO
This month has seen a landmark decision reached on the outcomes from the Blue Swimmer Crab Resource review (click for media release). WAFIC and SSPWA worked closely with both Recfishwest and the Department to ensure both the greater protection of the pre-spawning female crabs which provide resilience across the vitally important crab resource and to ensure a fair and reasonable process was applied for oceanic fisheries closed for on sustainability grounds.
Our Minister for Fisheries, the Hon. Dave Kelly, gave us the opportunity to improve on management changes recommend by DPIRD which included a preference for blanket seven-month seasonal closure (later reduced to five months) across all fisheries, making oceanic fishing for crab unviable and leaving fishers with no avenues for compensation. The original scenario of the 7-month blanket seasonal closures would have also had business ending consequences in iconic fisheries including the productive and sustainable Peel-Harvey and Swan Estuary/Canning River fisheries – again with no buy out relief. The final outcome of the negotiated package meets the need for protection of breeding females important to both commercial and recreational sectors, while providing far better outcomes for remaining fishers and a compensation avenue for Cockburn Sound fishers and oceanic license and exemption holders who would have been left to languish under the original plan. There is also a plan moving forward for a task force approach to improve data on recreational catch and align fisheries compliance activity to target illegal crab fishing which puts additional pressure on stock levels, at an unknown quantum.
The next stage for WAFIC, will see myself, Board and staff members hit the road to meet members, licence holders, processors and other regional stakeholders to listen and gather feedback on issues, priorities and expectations for the peak industry body. An objective of these tours is also building important relationships within the community (i.e. retailers, traditional owners, Members of Parliament and local shires) and for stakeholders to know that they have a contact they can turn to at WAFIC. Don’t worry – we won’t forget the sundowner! Stay tuned for more information to come.
I had the pleasure of attending the Blue Growth – New Zealand Seafood Conference on the 8 and 9 of August. The Kiwis share a number of common issues we are facing and we can benefit from understanding each other’s journey at different points in our progression. I highly recommend you read a brief summary that I put together detailing the 2-day conference (Click to Read). The summary also includes some informative PowerPoint presentations from the NZ and international thought-leaders who presented at the conference.
Lastly, happy Father’s Day! I hope that you not only treat your dad this weekend but spoil him with an assortment of WA Seafood (hope my kids are reading this). We want to see your menu items across our social media feed. Tag us under #waseafood. See you soon in your backyard, Alex