Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup pushes plan to cut back Estuary commercial fishing

A plan to reduce commercial fishing in the Peel-Harvey Estuary is closer to becoming a reality after Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup ramped up his campaign for a government buyout of professional fishing licenses in the region.

Mr Kirkup had made the buyout a Liberal party election promise before the March state election with the aim of bolstering crab and fish stocks for local recreational fishers.

He said he would be keeping pressure on the McGowan Government to buy up half of the Esturary’s commercial licenses and had recently met the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC)’s chief executive John Harrison to discuss the proposal.

“We’ve just started the crabbing season for the Estuary and I want to make sure that we all have access to fresh, sustainable swimmer crab for generations to come,” Mr Kirkup said.

Read more: Liberals pledge commercial fish license buy-up

“Since being elected, I’ve been working with recreational and professional fishers in Mandurah to ensure that we keep this front and centre on the government’s agenda. 

“I ask all recreational fishers if they want to see a reduction of commercial licences on the Peel-Harvey Estuary to get in touch with me, and lend their support to our campaign.”

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said he made a commitment prior to the election to investigate a buyback option for some commercial fishing licences in the Peel Harvey Estuary.

On the rise: The commercial catch of Yellowfin Whiting has increased since 2011. Image: Supplied.

On the rise: The commercial catch of Yellowfin Whiting has increased since 2011. Image: Supplied.

“We are talking with the relevant stakeholders, like Recfishwest and WAFIC to progress this commitment,” Mr Kelly said.

“The McGowan Government is dedicated to ensuring that this important fishery has a sustainable future for both commercial and recreational fishers.”

Mandurah Licensed Fisherman's Association president Damian Bell said in February the decision was a long time coming, and would ease some of the pressure on the Estuary.

He said the local commercial fishing industry was “generally happy” with the plan.