Fishing feedback

By Chris Thomson | posted on February 7, 2019

PUBLIC comment on plans to grow an oyster and mussel industry in 1461 hectares of sea in King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour close on February 15.

The planned aquaculture zone takes in much of Shoal Bay in the harbour, Frenchman Bay, Vancouver Peninsula around Mistaken Island, Oyster Harbour and the sea between Gull Rock and its adjacent beach.

The combined area of the planned zone in Albany is 1461 hectares.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development recently completed investigations for commercial shellfish aquaculture zones in Albany and Esperance to pave the way for approval to expand the industry.

Fishing Development Officer at Recfishwest, Matt Gillett, said he had received calls from Albany residents concerned at the impact of the planned zones on recreational fishers.

He said he had spoken to a “very helpful” person at South Coast Natural Resource Management – which is managing the consultation process – who had indicated recreational fishers would not be banned from the zones.

Mr Gillett said he welcomed that advice, as a one-page explanation of the zones on the NRM’s website had served to confuse local fisherfolk.

He said similar zones in the Midwest Region and Abrolhos Islands were “non-exclusive” ones where anglers could still fish.

“We’re happy to see investment in aquaculture, as long as recreational fishing is not affected,” he said.

The department is progressing initial approvals in a bid to resolve significant issues early so the zones are ready for the investment of commercial operators.

Mr Gillett said Recfishwest would make a submission.

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