Agreement to protect blue swimmer crab

A joint agreement has been reached to help protect the blue swimmer crab Photo: WAFIC A joint agreement has been reached to help protect the blue swimmer crab Photo: WAFIC

The government of Australia has backed a joint submission from industry and recreational fishers to protect the blue swimmer crab.

Spring fishing closures in the south west will now be implemented for three months of the year following the agreement negotiated between the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), Southern Seafood Producers Association WA (SSPWA) and Recfishwest (RFW) which aims to boost the supply of quality blue swimmer crabs.

Chief executive of WAFIC, Alex Ogg, said that industry had worked closed with the Western Australian government and RFW to ensure the species’ security. “It is a great result which follows months of consultation and negotiation and highlights how both sectors can work together with regulators to achieve fisheries management outcomes,” he said.

The closure, from 1 September until 30 November, will cover waters from Swan and Canning Rivers south to Minninup Beach. The agreement also sees the recreational bag limit in the Swan and Canning fishery reduced from ten to five blue swimmer crabs.

“The Cockburn Sound Crab Managed Fishery has for many years been closed to commercial fishing, due to environmental changes, whilst continuation of the Mandurah and Bunbury Developmental Fishery remained uncertain for over 25 years,” Mr Ogg continued. “A compensation and buy-back process offers the chance for commercial fishers to move on with recognition and dignity,” he said.

Mr Ogg said that industry now needs to better monitor recreational catch and address ongoing compliance issues. “What we do not know is the accurate level of the recreational take. Addressing compliance issues, which was outlined in the agreement, will not only ensure the future of the fishery but reassurance for the men and women across our seafood industry.”

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