WA fishos slam new fishing laws

New fishing regulations in WA could see the cost of licenses increase substantially

WA fishos slam new fishing laws
WA fishos slam new fishing laws

Western Australia’s boaties are furious following a WA Government decision to make major changes to State fishing laws that could see anglers paying more than $400 a year to fish.

The new laws – expected to come into play in mid October – will see the scrapping of the previous umbrella licensing system and individual anglers paying up to $405 annually to fish WA waters.

Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, said more restrictions on popular demersal (bottom-dwelling) scalefish and some inshore species, as well as changes to the recreational-licensing system, were needed to ensure the sustainability of WA’s fish stocks.

"There was wide recognition in Government and the community that significant parts of WA’s fisheries were at risk of collapse and needed greater protection," said Moore.

"The revenue raised by the new licensing system would be quarantined in a recreational fishing trust and spent on matters related to recreational fishing."

Under the new laws, a Western Australian demersal licence would cost $20 for one day, $60 a fortnight, or $150 a year to fish for any of the listed species. This will apply in the West Coast bioregion from Black Point, east to Augusta, to the Zuytdorp Cliffs north of Kalbarri. A two-month ban on recreational fishing for species on the West Coast bioregion demersal scalefish list will also apply from October 15 to December 15 each year. This last decision appears to have been largely accepted by recreational fishing bodies.

The current 50 per cent discount on all licences for pensioners and children under 16 will continue to apply, but this could mean that individuals in these groups would have to pay more than $200 annually for an "umbrella" licence – an increase of nearly 400 per cent.

Boat anglers will be required to pay an extra $30 for a boat-fishing licence as well as individual licences if they intend to target demersal species. Fishing for rock lobsters, freshwater species and marron will attract a further fee of $45 per species.


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