The Western Australian Government’s proposal to take over a portion of the rock lobster industry has fishers chanting “keep your claws of our crays!”
The State plans to take a 17.3 a per cent stake in WA’s lobster catch for domestic consumption meaning a potential cut in quotas for WA fishers.
Under the Government’s plan the total commercial catch will be lifted from 6300 tonnes to 8000 tonnes a year and 1385 tonnes of that increase would be kept by the WA Government.
According to WA’s Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, the plan would ensure more lobsters were available for domestic consumers rather than exporting overseas, with 98 per cent of current crayfish catches exported to China.
The Minister said the proposal would also create more jobs and increase tourism in the state.
Strong support in Hillarys for our plans to keep more lobsters in WA, rather than sending almost all of our iconic seafood to China. This will see more lobsters available for locals and tourists, creating more WA jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. pic.twitter.com/9Y8Kyx5WVA
— Dave Kelly (@Davekellymp) January 16, 2019
Meanwhile, the State’s fishers are outraged and say the increased catch would not be environmentally sustainable.
Fishers from across the state have formed the “Keep your claws off or crays” campaign to lobby against the plan.
The campaign has the support of more than 200 fishers, processors and their families who are all calling for the sustainability and viability of the $500 million industry to be guaranteed.
FISHERS ANGERSRock lobster fishers around the state have attacked the state government's decision to increase…
Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative CEO Matt Rutter told The West Australian that increasing the catch by almost 2000 tonnes would have to be done carefully to ensure the rock lobster estuary could handle the extra stress.
The lobby group is holding onto hope that Mr Kelly’s plan will be voted down in the WA Upper House with the One Nation and Greens parties also set to block the plan.
For more information listen to the ABC story here.