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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 30 October 2018

A win-win resolution for long-running Derby fishing conflict

  • ​An exclusive recreational fishing zone off the Derby coast has been approved
  • Wild-caught barramundi will still be available through seafood suppliers
  • Long-term fishing conflict resolved by working with WAFIC and Recfishwest

Recreational fishing opportunities off the Derby coast are set to improve with Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly ordering a permanent commercial fishing closure for King Sound South, putting an end to a long-running fishing conflict.

Barramundi is an iconic fish for local and visiting recreational anglers in the north of the State and, similarly, many visiting tourists are keen to taste this premium table fish in cafés and restaurants throughout Western Australia.

The desire to maintain high quality recreational fishing experiences and place wild-caught barramundi on the plates of seafood lovers has led to a new resource sharing plan between commercial and recreational fishers in the waters near Derby.

The commercial closure has been ordered following mutual agreement between the WA Fishing Industry Council, Recfishwest and the local community, following negotiations facilitated by the State Government.

This resolution sees the local commercial barramundi fisher receive financial compensation through a fisheries adjustment plan for the permanent relinquishment of a portion of the commercial fishery that includes important recreational fishing areas close to Derby.

The King Sound South commercial fishing closure comes into force after a Section 43 notice is formally gazetted today. A map of the closure area is available at

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:

“Resource sharing in waters around Derby has been a long-running issue. When I visited Derby last year and heard the community concerns I was determined to find a resolution to this conflict as soon as possible. 

“I congratulate WAFIC and Recfishwest for their work in reaching this agreement to improve fishing for Derby residents who enjoy catching a barra.

“The new plan appropriately recognises and balances the recreational fishing values of the town and the continued supply of fresh commercial wild-caught barra in WA.

“In Western Australia we are fortunate to have sustainable fisheries management programs in place that are backed by sound science.

“Just as importantly, we also have mature professional bodies, representing the sector groups, that are capable of showing leadership in resolving localised resource sharing issues.”

Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:

“I am pleased that a resolution has been reached in Derby to a difficult issue which had created significant unrest in the community.

“For residents of Derby, fishing and in particular fishing for barramundi is an institution. 

“The iconic Fitzroy river empties into King Sound right on the town’s doorstep, creating the perfect estuarine environment in which to catch barramundi only minutes from the boat ramp. 

This type of fishing experience has provided local fishers with safe and enjoyable fishing experiences for decades and is an intrinsic part of our local indigenous culture and way of life.”

Minister's office - 6552 6100

Last modified: 30/10/2018 11:57 AM

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