Plenty more fish in the sea

This year WA celebrates 10 years of commitment to sustainable fisheries. But has that commitment delivered positive results?

The state government has recognised 11 WA fisheries which have achieved Marine Stewardship Council certifications. 

Recreational fisher Andy Watkinson displays his catch. Photo: Ike Adesanya.

Research by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development shows that in 2019/20, 98 per cent of our fish stocks were assessed as not being at risk or vulnerable through exploitation.

In WA there are a number of restrictions placed on recreational fishers, including restrictions on the weight, species and type of fish that can be caught.

For instance in the West Coast bioregion, there is a a total mixed daily bag limit of two demersal finfish.  

“For a while there it was like we had been fished out, but things have started to turn around,” says recreational fisher Steve Reed.

“Overfishing is definitely dwindling in the Perth metro area.” 

Fellow recreational fisher Andy Watkinson agrees.

“The main thing is to only take what you need,” says Mr Wilkinson.

“Greedy people ruin everything in life.”

‘No fishing’ signs in Fremantle. Photo: Ike Adesanya.

MSC is an international leader in third party sustainability accreditation.

To receive MSC accreditation, fisheries must ensure target stocks are healthy, mitigate the level of impact against the habitat, and put in place management that safeguards sustainability. 

“Sustainability is not just environmental, it’s social, it’s economic, it’s that whole package and Western Australia has struck the right balance,” says MSC senior fisheries program manager Matt Watson.

He says consumers have an important part to play in maintaining sustainable fisheries.

“I think sometimes consumers forget how powerful they are,” says Mr Watson.

“If you protect the ocean, the ocean will continue to keep giving which means you have confidence in the future of your fishery.”

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