It was announced last night on ABC radio (Perth Drive) that the Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, has received threats in relation to the ongoing Western Rock Lobster industry dispute.

These threats are across multiple formats, especially social media, with allegations that faceless members of the public are also menacing Minister Kelly and staff at his office.

The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) promotes and encourages frank and open debate for all industry issues, but in no way condones any threatening or offensive behaviour.

John Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of WAFIC, said that intimidating the Minister and his office with personal threats about this reform or any other issue is completely unacceptable and counterproductive.

“Social media has given a platform for trolls to make anonymous, outrageous, and threatening comments without any recourse. Worse still, these trolls may not even have any connection or involvement with the commercial fishing industry.”

“The intent is purely to provoke, however what it actually does is to undermine the hard-work of the commercial fishing industry, peak representative bodies and the broader fishing community.”

“The issue focus is lost amongst this inflammatory rhetoric.”

Mr Harrison said that he understands the sheer frustrations and uncertainties facing Australia’s commercial fishing industries.

“We understand the extreme worries fishers are facing across Australia, but that does not allow any member of the public to make a threat or incite malicious attacks.”

“No one from the peak industry bodies supports the online abuse or the ‘extreme end’ of social media against Minister Kelly, or indeed anyone.”

Mr Harrison said that the proposed State Government Western Rock Lobster reform is now treading water, or at a stand-still, with appropriate procedures underway to ensure the best solution is achieved.

“The Government has listened to industry and extended the consultation period to 31 January 2019.”

“For the moment, we advise industry to have a say via the Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC) OR write a submission on the McGowan Government’s Lobster Policy by 4pm Thursday the 31 of January 2019.”

“Both peak bodies, WRLC and WAFIC, are continuing to advise the Minister of the negative impact this reform will have across our fisheries, and potentially other primary industries, throughout Australia.”

“But personal threats are not the solution,” concluded Mr Harrison.


ABC Radio Segment (Perth Drive – approx 1 hour in):

Media Contact

 Danika Gusmeroli, Communications Officer

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC)

Ph: 9432 7710