Shadow Fisheries Minister Colin de Grussa has encouraged recreational, charter and professional fishers to work together to ensure the recovery of the West Coast demersal fishery in WA.

Mr de Grussa said it is an exceptionally complex issue, requiring innovation and genuine co-operation between each sector to ensure the right outcome is achieved.

“Whilst we acknowledge the need for sustainable management of our fish stocks, this should be balanced with managing social and economic impacts this could have across each of the fishing sectors involved,” Mr de Grussa said.

“The last thing we need is the blunt instrument of uniform bag limits across the whole industry.

“It’s also important to note that WA families who don’t own a boat to catch their own fish deserve the opportunity to eat fresh West Australian produce which they rely on professional fishers to provide.”

Mr de Grussa expressed concern about the Labor Government’s intentions, given their track record of ‘consulting with industry’.

“We’ve seen Labor claim they’ve spoken with stakeholders, only to completely ignore the outcomes of their consultation when it doesn’t fit with their pre-determined agenda.

“Time will tell if this is an example of yet another Labor Fisheries Minister wielding a big stick, completely oblivious to the impacts and future viability of such a vital West Australian industry.”

Shadow Climate Action Minister Shane Love said the McGowan Government must recognise the impact on local communities when decisions around demersal fishing are made.

“Despite the Government’s claim that commercial losses are not compensable, there must be an understanding that support must be given to communities impacted by decisions to reduce catch limits,” Mr Love said.

“The McGowan Government must also acknowledge the impact on businesses along the west coast of our State, who survive on travellers spending money to fish in spectacular waters.

“Part of the causes of lower stock levels in fisheries could well be related to climate change. Just as adjustment packages are available for other sectors, investment should also be considered for the communities reliant on both commercial and recreational fisheries.

“The Minister should be keeping other options on the table, including investing in alternative recreational fishing opportunities to keep attracting tourists to WA’s regional destinations.”