Vince Catania MLA, member for North West Central has reacted angrily to proposals for fish traps to be trialled by commercial fisheries in the Gascoyne.
The Department of Fisheries has called for community comment for the fish trap proposal and has given the public only two weeks to make submissions.
“The proposal to use fish traps in the Gascoyne is highly contentious. We have only been provided two weeks to comment on this proposal which is ludicrous” said Vince. “People in the Gascoyne have long memories and many recount the reason these traps were withdrawn originally in the 80’s.” he added “Fish traps are an idea that belong in the last century, we now fish for the future.”
Vince has listed many environmental concerns including the depletion of entire stocks of fish in an area when fish traps are used as commercial fishers attempt to fill their quotas around recreational fishing areas, the unacceptable risk of traps being lost and fishing “forever”, the impact on recreational fishing areas and damage to juvenile fish as the traps are raised and as juveniles are released at the surface.
“Recreational Fishing is an important pastime in the Gascoyne both for visitors and locals. This proposal has the potential to decimate recreational fishing, resulting in significant economic losses in the recreational fishing and tourism sector.” Said Vince.
“I am also extremely concerned that the proposal would allow Trap fishing from Shark Bay to Coral Bay one of the most pristine areas of the Australian coast. The damage fishtraps would cause on sensitive coral areas would be irreparable.”
Vince is preparing a petition which will be circulated to stop the fish trapping proposal. “There needs to be an inquiry into how this proposal has been put forward with minimal time for public comment. There is definitely something fishy going on here.” Said Vince “The proposal is not on the Department of fisheries website. Why the rush for something that could be so devastating?”
Bumper stickers are also being printed. “I fish, I vote, no fish traps in the Gascoyne” stickers will be available in the next few days from Vince’s Carnarvon office.
“I urge everyone to sign the petition, call the office for a sticker and write to Recfish and Minister for Fisheries to express their concerns about this proposal. The deadline for comment is 24th of February so please act now. If we don’t make our voices heard this trial will go ahead and it will be too late for our fish and our fishing future.”