Have your say: New Fisheries Act takes a step forward

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has released its first proposed Aquatic Resource Management Strategy, which is an important milestone towards implementation of the new Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA).

The management strategy for the Pinctada maxima pearl oyster, was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and is now being opened for public comments.

The Pinctada maxima pearl oysters are the basis for WA’s iconic pearling industry and the new strategy establishes the foundation for continued sustainable management while having regard to the needs of customary fishers, the commercial industry and the broader WA community.

The draft strategy outlines the objectives to achieve and how access to the resource will be allocated between user groups; the scientific basis for setting the allowable catch; the way that the health of the stock will be monitored, and the steps that will be taken to deal with sustainability issues if they arise.

This draft strategy is the first to be developed under ARMA, which is scheduled to commence in full on 1 November this year.

Once endorsed, ARMA will replace both the current Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and the Pearling Act 1990.

ARMA builds on WA’s world-class management of aquatic resources by taking a resource level approach to management that explicitly recognises the impact and needs of all users and strengthens access rights. This includes recognising customary fishing as a priority resource use.

Director, Aquatic Resource Management for DPIRD, Nathan Harrison said that when a resource is moved under ARMA, this will represent an opportunity to review the management arrangements, not only to ensure the sustainability of WA’s aquatic resources but also confirm that the set of future uses provides the best overall outcomes for the community.

“Importantly, with the exception of pearling, all existing fishery management arrangements and rules will continue unchanged when ARMA first commences on 1 November,” Mr Harrison said.

Public comment on the draft strategy for the Pinctada maxima resource is open until 23 April 2023.

Anyone interested in providing comment on the draft Aquatic Resource Management Strategy for the Pinctada maxima Managed Aquatic Resource is invited to make submissions in writing by 4pm on 23 April 2023.

Go to Public comment and consultation AT fish.wa.gov.au for details on how you can take part in the process.