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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Guiding principles

The following principles have been adopted as the basis for Integrated Fisheries Management policy.

  1. Fish resources are a common property resource managed by the Government for the benefit of present and future generations.
  2. Sustainability is paramount and ecological impacts must be considered in the determination of appropriate harvest levels.
  3. Decisions must be made on best available information and where this information is uncertain, unreliable, inadequate or not available, a precautionary approach adopted to manage risk to fish stocks, marine communities and the environment. The absence of, or any uncertainty in, information should not be used as a reason for delaying or failing to make a decision.
  4. A harvest level, that as far as possible includes the total mortality consequent upon the fishing activity of each sector, should be set for each fishery* and the allocation designated for use by the commercial sector, the recreational sector, the customary sector, and the aquaculture sector, should be made explicit.
  5. The total harvest across all sectors should not exceed the allowable harvest level.  If this occurs, steps consistent with the impacts of each sector should be taken to reduce the take to a level that does not compromise future sustainability.
  6. Appropriate management structures and processes should be introduced to manage each sector within their prescribed allocation.  These should incorporate pre-determined actions that are invoked if that group's catch increases above its allocation.
  7. Allocation decisions should aim to achieve the optimal benefit to the Western Australian community from the use of fish stocks and take account of economic, social, cultural and environmental factors.  Realistically, this will take time to achieve and the implementation of these objectives is likely to be incremental over time.
  8. It should remain open to government policy to determine the priority use of fish resources where there is a clear case to do so.
  9. Management arrangements must provide sectors with the opportunity to access their allocation. There should be a limited capacity for transferring allocations unutilised by a sector for that sector's use in future years, provided the outcome does not affect resource sustainability.

More specific principles to provide further guidance around allocation decisions may also be established for individual fisheries.

* A fishery is defined under the Fish Resources Management Act, 1994 as one or more stocks or parts of stocks of fish that can be treated as a unit for the purposes of conservation or management; and a class of fishing activities in respect of those stocks or parts of stocks of fish. 

Last modified: 19/07/2012 1:43 PM

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