Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, is extremely concerned by the recent developments in the Western Rock Lobster (WRL) fishery.
“The WA Government’s intervention and claiming of a commercial stake in this fishery has far reaching repercussions for wild-catch fishers across Australia,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.
“The decision by the WA Government to take control of more than 17 per cent of the WRL fishery has the potential to dramatically devalue the entire industry.
“While fishers with existing WRL licences will share in an increased allocation of 315 tonnes, the government will now have an allocation of 1,385 tonnes.
“Governments are there to govern, not to become commercial entities competing with business.
“This move by the WA government has significant negative repercussions on property rights nationally, and not just within the seafood industry.
“It is unclear how it is considered appropriate for a regulator to grant themselves quota and the associated financial benefit. Surely there is a conflict of interest. The consequences of such intervention may have repercussions on other industries beyond seafood.
“We urge the Government to reconsider and reopen negotiations with WRL to find a more appropriate way forward.
“SIA will continue to watch developments closely.”