The Western Australian fishing industry will be big winners should The Nationals WA form Government next month, with Fisheries Spokesperson Ian Blayney today announcing a $70m commitment guaranteeing security rights, less red tape and legislation reform.
Mr Blayney said The Nationals WA commitment will ensure extensive industry consultation on legislation, including regulations around the creation of national parks as well as providing broad negotiations regarding unresolved issues such as long term fishing licence security.
“The fishing industry has been attempting to negotiate solutions to their limited licence security as well as proactively attempting to reduce delays in the Government passing levy funds back to the industry,” Mr Blayney said.
“Working through licence security means a lot to fishers and the unreturned levy money would be used to support activities such as research, MSC accreditation, promotion and improving occupational health and safety standards.
“Should The Nationals WA form Government in March, we will commit to setting early and clear fish resource allocations for commercial fisheries, especially demersal fish and we will also bring forward the introduction of individual resource security rights.
Mr Blayney said the McGowan Government had no credibility when it came to managing fisheries issues following the Government’s botched Western Rock Lobster Takeover plan and said his party will ensure through consultation with the industry on legislation and regulations.
“We will prioritise fisheries legislation such as the Fisheries and Related Industries Compensation (Marine Reserves) Act 1997, Fisheries Adjustment Schemes Act 1987, Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 and the Fish Resource Management Regulations.
“Ensuring fisheries legislation is processed through the Parliament quickly and efficiently will ensure modern and innovative frameworks for the continued management of our fisheries are implemented, giving the industry more flexibility over how they manage their aquatic resources.
Mr Blayney provided a funding breakdown of the $70m committed. The Nationals WA will commit:
- $20 million over five years for a regional aquaculture research node in every development zone, to complement fisheries research centres in Perth.
- $24 million for funding hatcheries and fish restocking efforts until at least 2030.
- $500,000 for the Marine Stewardship Council 2021-25.
- $500,000 for a development plan for recreational fishing, investigate shark bite-off and review of charter sector latent effort.
- $15 million over five years for a recreational boating and fish cleaning station scheme, on top of spend for projects from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund.
- $10 million to the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, doubling the annual amount
Mr Blayney also said The Nationals WA will also commit to investigating electronic tracking of recreational fisheries through a Parliamentary Committee process and guarantee place of origin labelling for seafood sold in WA restaurants.
“This policy will ensure a thriving, sustainable aquaculture industry into the future, with our focus on developing research centres and hatcheries, reviewing compensation to fishers and building coastal infrastructure to help the sector to continue to grow.
Mr Blayney said fishing is an important economic contributor to our State – worth more than $3 billion annually.