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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 20 June 2023

Demersal 'catch to cook' option for charter operators

    • 'Catch to cook' option for tasty demersal fish available to West Coast charter operators
    • Cook Government supporting charter businesses from Augusta to Kalbarri to diversify
    • Charter Diversification Scheme grants of $5000 to $20,000 available to eligible businesses
Fisheries Minister Don Punch has announced a 'catch to cook' demersal fishing option to all charter operators in the West Coast region to help businesses diversify and provide alternative eco-fishing tourism experiences.

Earlier this month the Cook Government announced a new quota tag system from 1 July for charter operators with a Fishing Tour Operator Licence in the West Coast region to boost the recovery of demersal fish stocks.

Under the quota system 6,000 tags have been allocated between 21 charter operators, based on their demersal catch history over the past five years.

Restricted Fishing Tour Operator Licence holders in the Abrolhos Islands currently operate under the 'catch to cook' model providing eco-tourism experiences for fishers.

Extending the 'catch to cook' option to all charter operators in the West Coast region means from 1 July, charter operators who did not receive tags will still be able to catch demersal fish, including pink snapper and WA dhufish, as long as all fish are consumed on the boat prior to returning to shore.

All charter operators will be required to record in their logbooks any fish caught and consumed as part of this option. No demersal fish can be landed on shore unless they have a tag attached.

Developed in consultation with Marine Tourism WA, this initiative will allow charter operators to showcase a limited catch of demersal fish as quality fresh meals on board, adding to the diversity of experiences on offer for locals and visiting fishing tourists.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will write to all charter licence holders to inform them of the change.

The Charter Diversification Scheme is available to eligible charter operators to apply for grants of between $5000 and $20,000 to diversify their business into other tourism experiences to help transition to the new quota tag system.

A review will be undertaken in 12 months of the quota tag system, and 'catch and cook' to track the recovery of the demersal resource.

Comments attributed to Fisheries and Regional Development Minister Don Punch:

"The Cook Government took the critically important step this year to introduce new measures to rebuild the State's stocks of iconic demersal scalefish stocks for generations to come.

"Extending the 'catch to cook' option to all West Coast charter operators means those operators without tags can still provide fishers with the opportunity to catch popular demersals without undermining sustainability.

"The Charter Diverification Scheme is also available and I encourage eligble operators to apply for grants to assist them to diversify their business and further support the recovery of our valuable demersal fish."

Last modified: 22/06/2023 3:34 PM

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