Fishing ban remains

By Grace Jones | posted on May 18, 2019

GREENS Pool will continue to be closed to fishers after a motion to disallow the ban in State Parliament’s Legislative Council was defeated 24 to five.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party’s Rick Mazza moved to disallow the ban in February citing issues with stakeholder consultation and a lack of due process in accepting a 900-signature petition (‘Claims refuted’, 21 February 2019).

During the debate on the motion Mr Mazza described Greens Pool as a “very, very beautiful part of our state”.

“The community has not been consulted with adequately on the closure,” he said.

“To have a permanent ban at Greens Pool is to deny a sector of the community the ability to also enjoy these surroundings, particularly when a seasonal ban would provide them to use it where there is less activity there.

“The Minister’s fishing lockout is a severe overreaction with no opportunity to provide public input.”

Mr Mazza said the outcome of the unsuccessful vote was disappointing and set a dangerous precedent for all shared use locations throughout the state.

“This decision effectively sanctions the Minister to enact bans on the Western Australian coastline for fishing without relying on valid scientific evidence or thorough community consultation,” he said.

“The Minister has relied on a petition signed by 969 people to assert his decision which is not a reflection of all stakeholders’ interests.”

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said Greens Pool attracted in excess of 238,000 visitors each year.

“Given there was a long-running conflict between swimmers and fishers over safety, the increasing value of this location as a tourist draw card and that safe recreational fishing locations are close by, it was decided following consultation with various stakeholder groups to create a swimming-only zone,” he said.

“Greens Pool is the only swimming beach on the south coast where fishing is not permitted.

“The McGowan Government’s common sense decision to create a swimming-only area had bi-partisan support in Parliament, which demonstrates the strong community support for this decision.”

Mr Mazza said he met with a local fisher who regularly used the spot.

“Based on his extensive local knowledge [he] contended [that] Elephant Rocks, Madfish Bay and Waterfall Beach were not safe year-round alternatives to Greens Pool,” he said.

“By voting against my disallowance motion, interested parties such as Recfishwest have been denied a part in how any restrictions or bans in this area are shaped.”

Greens Member for South West Diane Evers, who voted against the motion, described the ban on fishing as “very small and insignificant”.

“The benefit to the community is great and there remain many alternative opportunities available to recreational fishers,” she said.

“Sometimes common sense wins out and in this case I’m delighted this is the outcome.”

Minister Kelly said Greens Pool ranked in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards as the best beach in the Great Southern region.

“Recognising the increasing tourism value of this idyllic ocean pool, the McGowan Government in last week’s budget allocated $2.5 million for the development of visitor facilities in the Greens Pool-Elephant Rocks precinct,” he said.