Review of Fish Resources Management Act

Minister's Media Statement 10/05/2006

Minister urges community to have its say on fish laws.

Fisheries Minister Jon Ford today urged the community to have its say on a major review of legislation which governs the State's fisheries and aquaculture sectors.

The Department of Fisheries has prepared a discussion paper to support the work of a Ministerial review committee, chaired by Hon Matt Benson MLC, which is inquiring into and reporting on the effectiveness of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA).

The committee is reviewing how well the legislation meets its goals of conserving, developing and sharing the State's fish resources; in protecting fish habitats and aquatic biodiversity; and reporting on any other related matters.

The document contains important proposals that reflect new management directions for the State's fisheries such as integrated fisheries management and customary fishing.

It contains a series of proposed amendments to address issues which have developed over time, including the need to strengthen powers and penalties to address increasing organised crime within the fishing sector.

"Fish crime costs the State and is a significant threat to the sustainability of fish stocks - we need to have robust, up-to-date legislation to deal with this problem," Mr Ford said.

The Minister said the review was relevant to most Western Australians because of the social and economic significance of commercial, recreational fishing and aquaculture.

"This government is committed to sustainable and viable fisheries and aquaculture," he said.

"I am very keen to encourage people to read the document and have their say before the comment period closes on July 7."

Copies of Fisheries Management Paper No 208 'Proposed amendments to the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 Discussion paper' are available for download from the Department of Fisheries website at

Minister's office: 9213 7200


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Management Act

Thu, 2006-05-11 09:35

* A Biodiversity Conservation Bill is to be prepared, following a clear Government policy commitment to “introduce biodiversity conservation legislation as a priority”. Negotiations and discussions between key natural resource management agencies is currently being progressed to ensure that this legislation does not create legislative ambiguity or overlap or uncertainty.

* As a result, it is clearly desirable that the broad scope of the Biodiversity Conservation Bill should cover all of Western Australia’s biodiversity other than fish as defined in the FRMA (other than fish listed as threatened species) across all lands and waters contained within, or administered by, the State.

* The primary object of this Act is to conserve, and share the State’s fish, other aquatic resources and their habitats.

* In particular, it is proposed that this Act has the following secondary objects:
a. to conserve fish, and protect their environments;
b. to ensure the impact of fishing activities on aquatic fauna and their habitats is minimised.
c. to ensure the use of aquatic resources is carried out in a sustainable manner;

IFM is an initiative aimed at addressing the issue of how fish resources can be best shared between competing users within the broad context of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD).

In summary IFM involves:
• setting the sustainable harvest level of each resource that allows for an ecologically sustainable level of fishing;
• allocation of explicit catch shares for use by commercial, recreational and indigenous customary fishers;
• continual monitoring of each sectors harvested catch;
• managing each sector within its allocated catch share; and
• developing mechanisms to enable the reallocation of catch shares between sectors.

* It is proposed to create an additional management tier to managed fisheries which will allow the Executive Director to more efficiently manage minor and developing fisheries by permit. The Executive Director to declare a particular fishery or fishing activity to be a ‘permit fishery’ and issue permits to operate in that permit fishery.

* Therefore, the new powers proposed within this draft document will provide support to the conservation objectives of Government, through the enhancement of existing legislation to 200 nautical miles, while providing for management arrangements for the aquatic environment that are not in conflict with other statutes.

Having a quick read through seems like there are some interesting developments and changes ahead. I have taken a few sections which I think are definately worth reading if you haven't downloaded and looked yourself.

What is your perspective on the act and its review Terry?


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Review of Fish Resources Management Act

Thu, 2006-05-11 10:02


This paper has been out for only a few days.

It is a discussion paper, but proper comments also need a look at the Fish Resources Management Act and the Regulations to see what the discussion paper might not have covered.

Let's see what other people have to say about this.


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This bit worries me!

Thu, 2006-05-11 18:47

Look I haven't read it yet OK?

From what little bit I have seen this bit, (in particular) worries me!

The committee is reviewing how well the legislation meets its goals of conserving, developing and sharing the State's fish resources

(My Bold emphasis added!)

I don't believe in the recent past we are seeing much leadership being displayed by Fisheries WA in many areas of concern to anglers!
Developing a resource includes creating fisheries where there are non!
The dept has a legislated charter to do so!

Yet just about every bit of language thereafter in Adams selected quotaions above has a conservation / protect / lock up, connotoation / tone / tenor to it!

Woe-betide we should do anything that doesn't agree with some other legislatiion somewhere else! Rolleyes - This is used as the excuse for a moribund leaderless Govt to do absolutely nothing!

And for that reason - because we aren't seeing much leadership and because we aren't seeing development (read stocking with eastern states natives) anglers (rightfully IMHO) have lost a lot (well oK ALL) faith in Fisheries WA and the Fisheries Ministers' ability / determination / will to actually lead & carry out their legislated development role, in favor of cow towing to other rabid lunatic fringe green movement demands for locking everything up!

There is a clear lack of direction from govt and the Fisheries Dept on this issue so that anglers, (who are mortified by what they have given up in recreational reviews, to only get screwed over in resource sharing allocations ) have lost all faith in the ability of Fisheries WA and this Govt to carry out their legislated responsibility to develop the resource!.

As a result we have illegal stockings occurring within the state, in an uncontrolled and unmanaged manner that COULD potentially be very bad for some ecosystems!

When you take into account, what the same supposed "green" govt is doing with pumping groundwater (Yarragadee) & Wheatbelt salt drainage thru the Blackwood River, any suggestion that they are being "environmentally responsible" with these proposals is just totally outright laughable!

They are the biggest eco-vandalls, ever walked Gods earth!

I do not believe, that this Governement or its Fisheries Dept, enjoys the confidence of the majprity of the recretional fishing sector, as a result of such blatant rampant environmental vandalism!!

I don't believe any such draft proposed legislation will change the status quo with regard to Rec Anglers perceptions of this Govt or it's Agencies agenda's against us!

Sure - I will read it, whether I will bother to comment officially other than here is highly debateble!

I have no faith in the integrity of their public comments system or the staff who administer it on their behalf! I contend it is fundamentally flawed by intentional design to the point it isn't worthy of public comment and is in effect "fraudulent" by implementation manner rather than overt deliberate design perhaps!

I will read it - I may even agree with minor parts of it but I won't suppoort it or comment...until the people running the show - have a damn good look at themselves and how they have alientated such a high % of the recreatonal angling public, to the point where they largely do not enjoy our confidence and anglers are prepared and incensed enough, to overtly break the laws in a manner of direct "anonymous" protest protest!

That is a sad state of affairs for any government or agency!
They have a LOT of work to do to reverse that trend IMHO!

I do not believe that the Hon Premier Alan Carpenter or his Minister for Fisheries the Honorouble Dr Ford are leaders capable of effecting such a change in recreational angler attitude toward themselvess and their agencies!

Talk of "organised crime" within Fishing in a ministerial release,in view of the debacle over Honourable? Police Minister Doratzio, with suggestion of some sort of possible official corruption, driving without license etc etc is just totally totally laughable!

I shouldn't need to remind the anglers of WA - that the party hacks and behind the scenes union thugs / organisers and numbers men, who were running the most corrupt political party in the history of our nation, ever known in this state, during the "WA inc" years still pull the strings of these marionettes out in the public eye, that we know as 'leaders'!

For them under such a dubious cloud as the Former PM and Enviro Minister resigning, and having ministers like the "Honorable" Mr Doratzio under such a cloud - to suggest that "organised crime exists with in Fishing", is laughable!

We KNOW where the "organised crime within Fishing" in WA is!!!

It's clearly within Fisheries!! It starts at the very top at Govt level and filters all the way down thru the department!!!

We see it time and again from party political donations by commercial fishing sector to this govt, right thru to us being swindled out of an equitable resource allocation under IFM reviews and so on and so forth!

I would say all this is probably moot anyway. I, for the life of me, could not for a second imagine anyone voting this party back in at the next election! I believe they have exposed publicly too much already of their idea of "proper governance"...for any thinking citizen (let alone angler) to actually vote for them again.
Fish Kills?

If the fish kills and everything else aren't clear enough signals as to a moribund leaderless Govt adrift in crisis then I don't know what is!

I would say we will have a NEW Govt without any hesitation at the next election and all that has gone before in as far as nefarious "gains" made by Commercial sector will be quickly undone and those behind it who currently enjoy "public service" and have betrayed the recreational angler should be preparing their CV's for "private enterprise"

A lot of whats gone on hasn't done so without notice and - those who have the ears of the incomming Govt will ensure that changes are rapidly made to redress the damage so far done!
The traitors within thernks responsible will undoubtedly get their marching orders!

The list is well researched and already compiled! ;o)
Thats my take on it!