Commercial fishing matters in new advocacy campaign

The WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) has launched a new advocacy campaign to help WA communities understand the importance of the State’s commercial fishing industry and to remind people of the need to support their local fishers.

The new campaign shares several scenarios to remind consumers where their seafood comes from, who relies on it and the importance of buying local.

WAFIC Chief Executive Officer, Darryl Hockey said throughout the COVID period locals were very aware of the need to protect WA’s fishing industry.

“During COVID we saw a spike in sales for local seafood as locals recognised the need to protect the security of our local fisheries. But it’s very easy to forget that need when things go back to normal.

“We want locals to reach for WA products first and to understand how their purchases benefit the WA community,” Darryl said.

There have been a number of issues threatening WA’s commercial fishing industry, including poor consultation for marine parks, over-reach to support aquaculture proposals and the ongoing need to balance recreational and commercial fishing efforts.

“In particular, the establishment of new marine parks generates a lot of concern and anxiety for affected regional fishing communities. The experiences of the Buccaneer Marine Park consultation delivered some unfortunate outcomes.

“We are also seeing early efforts by certain groups to address the recreational overfishing of prized demersal species by taking away the allocations made for the commercial sector, but this would mean a WA restaurant, or fish and chip shop, could not access WA pink snapper or dhufish for the general public.  So those from all parts of the State would miss out while lucky people who live near the coast and own a big boat would have exclusive rights.

“The fact is that the commercial catch is always made available to every WA citizen regardless of location. We therefore need to actively support a sustainable and viable commercial fishing industry – and this campaign is designed to promote this,” Darryl said.

The ads will appear on regional and metropolitan radio stations across WA, as well as targeted regional newspapers and social media channels starting in early 2022.

The new advocacy campaign aims to better connect seafood with consumers.