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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Aquatic Resources Management Act

​Over the last 50 years, Western Australia has built a reputation for first-class fisheries and aquatic resource management.

This reputation has been built on a solid legislative foundation that has allowed our management approach to evolve according to the changing needs of the community.

However, with increasing changes to our environment, population growth and greater competition for aquatic resources, new legislation is required to ensure that we can continue to meet future challenges and demands.

A modern, flexible framework for aquatic resource management

The Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA) will replace the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and the Pearling Act 1990, to become the primary legislation used to manage fishing, aquaculture, pearling and aquatic resources in Western Australia. 

Final amendments to the Act passed on 19 August 2021 have opened the pathway to full implementation. The amendments addressed important operational issues to enable smooth implementation of the new Act.

ARMA will provide set of dynamic new management methods and a modern, flexible framework that will ensure effective, efficient and integrated fisheries and aquatic resource management for decades to come.

It will also allow for existing management arrangements for our commercial and recreational fishing sectors to remain in place to ensure a smooth transition.

ARMA’s core objectives are to ensure:

  • the ecological sustainability of the State’s aquatic resources and aquatic ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations; and
  • that the State’s aquatic resources are managed, developed and used factoring in the economic, social and other benefits they may provide.

The new Act also legally recognises fishing access rights for each sector. Under ARMA, public benefit use (such as for research purposes to ensure ongoing sustainability of the resource) and customary fishing are recognised as priority resource uses – but the Act also strengthens access rights for commercial and recreational fishers.

Pearl oyster – the first resource to transition to ARMA

The Pinctada maxima pearl oyster resource will be the first to transition to the new management framework under ARMA, when the new Act commences.

This means that for the first time, the pearling industry will be managed under the same Act as all other fishing and aquaculture activities in Western Australia, allowing for a modern, consistent management approach across aquatic resources. 

Last modified: 23/08/2021 10:28 AM

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