26 September 2023

Virus crisis gets fishers off the hook

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Fishing licence fees are to be waived as part of a relief package announced by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to support Western Australia’s seafood industry.

Minister for Fisheries, Peter Tinley said the relief measures were valued at $1.3 million and followed last month’s support package for the State’s rock lobster fishery.

“WA’s fisheries were among the first to be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic after China cancelled imports of seafood and brought the State’s rock lobster industry to a standstill,” Mr Tinley said.

“Prior to the outbreak, China took close to 95 per cent of the commercial catch.”

He said with the support package for the rock lobster industry in place, now was the time to help WA’s broader seafood sector.

“Following consultation with the WA Fishing Industry Council, we have agreed to waive a range of licence fees and access fee payments will be deferred to reduce cash flow burdens on the commercial seafood sector,” Mr Tinley said.

“These measures include licences for commercial fishers, aquaculture, processing, pearling and fishing tour operators.”

He said a six-month extension of the usual timelines for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessments and certifications was also on offer — the first time the MSC had taken such a step in its 22-year history.

“WA’s seafood is globally recognised as among the best in the world and it’s important we help re-establish the markets that have such historic importance for our State,” Mr Tinley said.

‘The seafood industry has supported thousands of jobs, especially in our regional areas,” he said.

“As markets recover in Asia, we need to be ready to deliver again,” he said.

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