Review of WA moorings underway

Since 2014 there has been a process underway to reform the management of moorings across the State, not just for commercial fishers but for everybody.

An overview of the Mooring Regulation Streamline Review Project is available on the Department of Transport Website.

The outcomes of the review are now formalised in the amended Mooring Regulations.

The Department of Transport (DoT) is now working on transitioning the existing Mooring Control Areas (MCAs) into the amended regulations. Existing MCAs include:

  • Swan Canning Rivers
  • Albany
  • Carnarvon
  • Peel (Mandurah)
  • Mangles Bay (Rockingham).

This process will be completed by 1 October 2022.

The DoT is now working on developing a plan to implement new MCAs throughout the State to ensure all moorings in State Waters are managed consistently.

However, it is important to note that the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is intending to license moorings in Marine Parks under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 (CALM Act) and Port Authorities administer moorings with Port limits under the Port Authorities Act 1999.

The MCA implementation plan will break the State into regions where they will work to identify existing moorings.

This will occur in two ways:

  • Ask people to provide the locations; and
  • Go looking and where located, tag the mooring and encourage the owners to make contact with DoT.

They will then consult with the owners as well as mooring apparatus engineers to assess the suitability of mooring locations. Once the consultation and assessment process is complete they will release a proposed plan for the Mooring Control Area and then look to gazette the MCA and formally license the moorings.

WAFIC has reached out to DoT and asked to be engaged throughout this process.

Given the huge volume of work and consultation this is going to take a lot of time to get right, so DoT will probably look at starting in the Kimberley and Pilbara and then work down the west coast. As such, it could possibly be a couple of years till they get down towards the South West region.

In the meantime, they are working with DBCA, Rottnest Island Authority and DPIRD to try to align the management of moorings, including agreed colours for mooring buoys, agreement of approved mooring contractors and development of a single online booking system for rental moorings.

The process will include the establishment of a Stakeholder Working Group and WAFIC has contacted DoT and insisted on representation given we have heard unofficially that there may be an intention to charge owners around $950 per year per mooring, plus regular inspection costs.

However, the costs will be much lower if the owner is prepared to share the mooring with passers-by. In other words, the mooring will have a different colour code which indicates it can be used by others if the owner’s boat isn’t there.

Regardless, we see this as an unnecessarily burdensome and costly impost – as well as a barrier to marine safety – especially for some south coastal fishers who may utilise up to a dozen separate moorings in various places to ensure they have safe havens when the weather turns.

We will update the industry as more information becomes available.