Frustration over consultation definition

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Greens Pool
Camera IconGreens Pool Credit: Tourism Australia

A major fishing group and the State Government are at odds over what qualified as consultation for the Greens Pool fishing ban.

Immediately following the December, 2018, announcement of a year-round ban at the beach, Recfishwest, representing 740,000 WA fishers, complained it had not been consulted.

This was despite the Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly claiming they had, along with other fishing and government groups.

It has now been made clear consultation did occur, but Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland did not believe it was enough.

“Perhaps we have a different definition of consultation,” he said.

“Recfishwest provided feedback to the Government around the issue of interaction between fishers and swimmers and safety concerns raised at Greens Pool.

“In cases where concerns and impacts are deemed real and valid and represent broader community opinion, Recfishwest are supportive of introducing measures to resolve such conflict.

“That said, we never saw a proposal to close Greens Pool to fishing or any evidence to support a year-round closure of this safe winter fishing spot.”

The surprise ban hit a nerve with some anglers who argued a year-round ban was unnecessary at a beach often empty during colder months.

However, Mr Kelly said swimmers and snorkellers used the beach year-round, and was a tourism draw-card.

He said a petition with more than 960 signatures had been submitted calling for the beach to be protected.

“With safe recreational fishing locations close by, this closure to fishing to manage resource sharing issues is a common-sense move,” he said.

“The conflict between recreational line and spear fishing and swimmers at this location has been ongoing for many years.”

That did not fly with Western Angler magazine editor Scott Coghlan, who also believed the consultation was insufficient.

“There is obviously a little group within the Denmark community pushing for it and believes it’s what they want, but I don’t think it represents community values,” he said.

“I can appreciate you don’t want interaction between fishermen and swimmers, there’s common sense on both sides to do with that.

“(But) you could avoid some peak times without closing it for 12 months a year - it’s like using a chainsaw to fillet a herring.”

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