Bremer zone extension, trawling ban

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser

The Bremer Canyon Marine Reserve will be expanded by more than 3000 square kilometre, after the Federal Government released its review of Commonwealth marine reserves yesterday.

Scallop trawling will be banned, while oil and gas exploration will also be excluded in the entire reserve, which has become known globally for its aggregation of orcas and other marine life.

The move was welcomed by the community, who voiced environmental concern over scallop trawling in the area.

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson, who supported the removal of a scallop trawling zone in the reserve, said the changes were a major win for the Great Southern community.

“The local community really were instrumental in the changes that have been announced by the minister for environment,” he said.

“They instigated a compelling campaign that helped me convince the minister that the overwhelming consensus was that this unique marine environment needed to be preserved and protected.” Mr Wilson previously agreed with the Bioregional Advisory Panel and Expert Scientific report suggesting there was minimal risk from scallop trawling activity in the area.

After further consultation, he said it was clear the community would like to end scallop trawling in the reserve.

WA Fishing Industry Council chief executive John Harrison said it was disappointing to see the removal of the trawl zone.

“Mr Wilson should now show as much enthusiasm to ensure these businesses are fairly and adequately compensated for the loss of their fishing rights,” he said.

“I am sure he will put his shoulder to the wheel.”

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