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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 24 February 2023

Milestone achieved towards implementing new Fisheries Act

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has today released a proposed Aquatic Resource Management Strategy for an important Western Australian aquatic resource – the Pinctada maxima pearl oyster - for public comment.

The draft strategy was developed in consultation with key stakeholders and its release is an important milestone towards implementation of the Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA). 
 WA has the only significant wild stock pearl oyster fishery in the world 

Our Pinctada maxima resource is the basis for WA’s iconic pearling industry and the new strategy establishes the foundation for continued sustainable management of this resource having regard to the needs of customary fishers, the commercial industry and the WA community. 

The draft strategy outlines the objectives to achieve and how access to the resource will be allocated between user groups, the scientific basis for setting the allowable catch, the way that the health of the stock will be monitored and the steps that will be taken to deal with sustainability issues if they arise. 

This draft strategy is the first to be developed under ARMA which is scheduled to commence in full on 1 November this year. ARMA will replace both the current Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and the Pearling Act 1990. 

ARMA builds on WA’s world-class management of aquatic resources by taking a resource level approach to management that explicitly recognises the impact and needs of all users and strengthens access rights. This includes recognising customary fishing as a priority resource use. 

Director, Aquatic Resource Management for DPIRD, Nathan Harrison said that when a resource is moved under ARMA, this will represent an opportunity to review the management arrangements, not only to ensure the sustainability of WA’s aquatic resources but also confirm that the set of future uses provides the best overall outcomes for the community. 

“Importantly, with the exception of pearling, all existing fishery management arrangements and rules will continue unchanged when ARMA first commences on 1 November,” Mr Harrison said. 

In line with ARMA’s statutory requirements, public comment on the draft strategy for the Pinctada maxima resource is open until 23 April 2023. 

Anyone interested in providing comment on the draft Aquatic Resource Management Strategy for the Pinctada maxima Managed Aquatic Resource is invited to make submissions in writing by 4pm on 23 April 2023. 

Go to Public comment and consultation (​ for details on how you can take part in the process.

Last modified: 24/02/2023 3:25 PM

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