MP pushes for removal of trawling zone
O’Connor MP Rick Wilson will request the removal of a zone permitting scallop trawling in a proposed marine reserve area at Bremer Bay.
It comes after environmental concern over how scallop trawling could damage the area, which is a hotspot for marine life including orcas.
Mr Wilson previously agreed with the Bioregional Advisory Panel and Expert Scientific report suggesting minimal risk from scallop trawling activity in the area.
“Furthermore, I’m not aware of any commercial fishing operators based in O’Connor who actually trawl in the area, so removing this zone is unlikely to have any negative impact on the local economy,” he said.
“I’d like to see that zone removed from the final plans for the Bremer Commonwealth Marine Reserve.”
Western Australian Fishing Industry Council chief executive John Harrison said he was disappointed to see people advocating for fishing areas to be shut down.
“Not only do our fishers make a big contribution to the State’s economy, but they provide jobs and the fresh seafood on our plates,” he said.
Hamish Ch’ng, owner of Far West Scallops, which trawls in the Bremer Bay reserve area, said scallops sourced from the area were vital to secure the future of his business.
“Scallop catches are unpredictable and highly variable and ongoing access to the trawl grounds on the South Coast will continue to make an important contribution to the total annual scallop catch taken by our vessels,” he said.
Bremer Bay Dive owner Craig Lebens, who has lived in the area for the past 21 years, said he was thrilled to hear Mr Wilson’s decision.
“We have put forward what the community would like to see happen here and communicate what would be best for the community in the long term and we would like our local politician to make it happen,” he said.