West Coast demersal changes come into effect from 1 February 2023

After the explosive attacks faced by the commercial fishing sector following the announcement of changes to the West Coast demersal scalefish rules, the commencement of the new regulations began with a relative calm on 1 February.

While Recfishwest is still calling for changes and increased allocation, that ship has sailed and the pain has been worn, so it is unlikely the government will risk further backlash by making amendments.

Now that the issue has had a little time to calm down, it was interesting to hear 6PR talking with a local commercial fisher and seafood company about the issue and making several realisations, including that recreational fishers already have exclusive access to demersal fishing across the metropolitan region (which is approximately 25 per cent of the West Coast Bioregion) and that many of the commercial fishers in the region are actually generational fishing families, and not massive corporations heartlessly draining the resource.

WAFIC will continue to apply pressure, but in the meantime you may want to listen to Millsy talking with Phil Clark on 6PR here.

A positive development of the process has been the government’s recognition of the need for a uniformed real-time measurement of recreational catch which aligns with commercial fishing requirements. DPIRD and the Minister have confirmed money has been allocated for this digital development, so watch this space.

You’ll also find a detailed fact sheet on the West Coast demersal scalefish fishery here.