Government Pinched by Lobster’s Flaws

The Greens (WA) has announced today, after consultation with government and industry stakeholders, it will not support the State Government’s proposed changes to the western rock lobster industry in its current form.

Marine and coastal issues spokesperson Diane Evers says the plan did not hit the mark in key areas of concern and could not be supported as is.

“It is the government’s responsibility to ensure our resources are managed sustainably. Resource management and further development of the plan, in consultation with the industry, must be addressed before any changes take place,” she said.

“Commercial intervention by a government, with economic objectives that do not align with environmental sustainability, is unacceptable.

“The Government has tabled a commercial plan for a five-year-plus period, despite sustainable catch quotas being based on four-year breeding projections — these goals of conservation and profit are in conflict.”

The proposed changes, announced in December last year by Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, suggested increasing the commercial catch to 8,000 tonnes, with the Government to create a 17 per cent commercial stake.

Ms Evers pointed to the Forest Products Commission operations in the timber industry as an example of a failed system.

“The fact is, the government’s management of the forest through FPC has failed in that it is not protecting the native forest and it is failing to return a profit” she said.

“We do not want to see another example of this bad model when it comes to a publically owned resource.

“Furthermore the Minister for State, in this case Premier McGowan, has powers available to override the Fisheries Minister — and science — should he desire increased revenue over the sustainability of the lobster resource.”

Ms Evers has held numerous meetings on the matter and says the rationale of the Government and the lack of detail in the plan has failed to convince her.

“From what has been communicated, it appears that the consultation process from the Government has been far from sufficient,” she said.

“I have no confidence in their process of collaboration with the industry, and while I have given the matter fair consideration, the lack of real engagement with industry on top of the potential damage to the resource makes this impossible to support.

“When you consider the fact that these changes could affect the industry’s Marine Stewardship Council Certification, it is clear the Government is taking a big risk with this policy.”

Get in touch:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070