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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
IMAGE: Shannon Conway 
Thursday 1 November 2018

Western Australia's newest fishery is our first to go fully digital

​Licence-holders in WA’s new Marine Aquarium Fishery are able to fish from today.

Our State’s newest fishery is the first where online catch reporting is mandatory for its twelve licence-holders, who collect coral, live rock, clams and fish for the aquarium trade.

The Marine Aquarium Fishery management plan, overseen by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, consolidates a range of fisheries under a single plan that simplify management under a sustainable framework.

Collecting fish for the marine aquarium trade is a growing and valuable industry for WA and it’s estimated the fishery has the potential to generate up to $5million income annually. The resource potentially includes more than 950 species of marine aquarium fishes and operators are also permitted to take coral, live rock, algae, invertebrates and seagrass.

Fisheries Management Officer Paula Kalinowski said quotas for key species along with 100% online catch reporting by licence-holders were the cornerstones for the fishery’s management.

“Marine aquarium species are collected by hand, while the fishers are wading or diving in intertidal and nearshore waters along our State’s coastline,” Ms Kalinowski said.

“WA’s coastal waters, north and south, support a range of fish and marine life, which are highly sought-after for marine aquarium displays across Australia and internationally.

Sea fans are one of the many coral species IMAGE: Shannon Conway

Ms Kalinowski said it was important the industry, which provides this fascinating suite of fish, clams, corals, seagrasses, live rock and other marine species for use in aquariums, remained sustainable and well-managed.

“The new Marine Aquarium Managed Fishery structure also reduces red tape, strengthens access rights for licence-holders and provides for economic growth opportunities.” she said

“Helping with the monitoring and management of the widespread fishery, the operators will be required to report their catch through online reporting to the department, which also provides valuable data to Federal environment authorities who oversee the fishery’s export authority.

“Their online reporting tool enables any licence-holder to know exactly where they are against their quotas that apply to the key species they catch.”

The new arrangements reinforce that sustainability for this low volume, high-value fishery is of paramount importance and, in line with the world’s best practice, the Marine Aquarium Fishery is supported by an Ecological Risk Assessment and Harvest Strategy.

Last modified: 1/11/2018 1:36 PM

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