Government to buyback Mandurah commercial fishing licences, big boost for recreation sector

The state government will today announce a buyback scheme for commercial fishing licences in the Peel-Harvey Estuary, the Mandurah Mail can reveal.

Over recent years there has been a dispute between the recreational and commercial fishing sectors over access to, and the fishing of, blue swimmer crabs and yellowfin whiting.

Mandurah’s waterways host the most-popular recreational crab fishery in Western Australia, which a number of commercial fishers also operate in.

Moving forward, the government has allocated $1.5 million to the buyback of commercial licences, with the aim of facilitating a resource reallocation from the commercial to the recreational sector.

The West Coast Estuarine Managed Fishery Voluntary Fisheries Adjustment Scheme will open on Friday, with commercial fishers having until April 30, 2019, to express an interest.

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Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said the government had consulted with Recfishwest and the WA Fishing Industry Council before making the decision.

“I am proud to be delivering another election commitment from the McGowan government to improve recreational fishing experiences in WA,” he said.

“The Peel-Harvey Estuary has been a source of conflict between the recreational and commercial sectors over access to blue swimmer crabs and yellowfin whiting catches. This scheme is aimed at removing conflict.

“We have allocated $1.5 million to the commercial fishing licence buyback scheme, with a component of the funding coming from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.

“The scheme is designed to make more crabs available to recreational fishers, while still providing a supply of commercially caught crabs to the local market.”

Mandurah MP David Templeman said the scheme was a “great initiative.”

“Maintaining our stocks of Mandurah crabs for recreational fishers is very important,” he said.

“This election commitment will ensure recreational fishers will have access to sustainable crab stock, while the commercial catch is still available to provide for businesses, restaurants and the local market.”

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