Implementation Of Fisheries Legislation Not To Proceed

  • Implementation of Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA) will not proceed
  • Cook Government to build on existing fisheries legislation to provide effective and sustainable fisheries management for the future

The Cook Government has announced it will not proceed with the implementation of the Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA), instead building on existing legislation to ensure the future sustainable management of Western Australia’s fisheries.

The ARMA legislation passed through Parliament under the previous Liberal-National Government in 2016 and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has been working through implementation issues for the past eight years.

Despite introducing legislation in 2021 to rectify deficiencies in the Liberal-National legislation, the Cook Government received further legal advice that more legislative amendments would be required to ensure the Act could operate as intended.

After consulting with key fishing and aquaculture sector bodies, the Cook Government has determined the ARMA legislation would not provide the flexible management approach needed to meet the changing needs of the sector. This flexible approach was vital during COVID and after tariffs were imposed by China on the import of western rock lobster.

The Government will instead build on the existing Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and the Pearling Act 1990 legislation to ensure a best management approach is in place for Western Australia’s fisheries for decades to come.

The decision to remain operating under the existing legislationwill provide stability and certainty for fisheries management going forward.

As stated by Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

“Today I attended a meeting of the Fishing Industry Council, where I had the opportunity to discuss the decision not to proceed with the implementation of ARMA with the key sector bodies.

“Despite the previous Liberal-National Government’s assurances, ARMA’s legislative regime has been impossible to practically implement and would have resulted in uncertainty and disruption to the fisheries sector.

“This decision has been arrived at through careful and meaningful consultation with industry and prioritises the needs of all of our fisheries as a whole.

“Over the past eight years aquatic resource management needs have changed. Meeting challenges such as climate change, marine planning and changing economic and social environments requires a more flexible management approach to achieve the best outcomes for the Western Australian community.

“The Fish Resources Management Act 1994 continues to be effective legislation and we will work with the peak sector bodies to look at potential improvements to help ensure continued effective sustainable fisheries management for the future.”

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