Southern Zone Rock Lobster fishers in South Australia are leading the world in fish stewardship with the release for public consultation today of a conservative commercial fishing management plan.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the state's Southern Zone Rock Lobster fishers are setting a great example for fishers everywhere of showing leadership in seeking to run a profitable industry while still growing lobster stocks into the future.
"The draft management plan for the southern zone Rock Lobster fishery seeks to enable lobster populations to continue to grow by moderating future increases in commercial catch," said Minister Whetstone.
"Our rock lobster fishers are seeking to avoid the 'boom-bust' approach to fishing where traditionally maximum limits on commercial catches increase as the available stock increases and falls again as populations decline.
"They do not want to repeat the mistakes of other fishing sectors where over-exploitation in good times and inadequate responses to declining stocks have resulted in fishing closures. "Some of the innovations in the new plan to encourage ongoing growth of rock lobster populations are the 'one-step' and the 'consecutive year' rules.
"Under these rules, when lobster populations grow, limits are placed on increases to commercial catches by rising only one level at a time and catch levels cannot increase two years in a row. Fishers themselves have asked for these rules which will enable rock lobster populations to grow at a pace outstripping commercial harvest effort over time."
Minister Whetstone said the Southern Zone Rock Lobster fishery adds $157 million to the state's economy and the Marshall Liberal Government is pleased to work in a co-management partnership with fishers to secure the long term financial and ecological sustainability of the industry.
The draft management plan has been recommended by the Rock Lobster Fishery Management Advisory Committee which is the recognised peak advisory body to the State Government on fisheries management for the South Australian Rock Lobster Fishery.
Development of the plan follows extensive consultation with Southern Zone Rock Lobster fishers.
Proposals in the plan seek to ensure sustainable growth for the commercial Rock Lobster sector and also equitable levels of access for all fishery sectors that target the species, including recreational fishers.
The Southern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery stretches along 425km of the South Australian coastline from the River Murray mouth to the Victorian border and covers an area of 22,000km2. The existing management plan implemented in 2013 is due to expire on 30 June 2020.
Public consultation on the draft management plan is now open until 5pm Friday 31 January 2020. For further information and to download the draft management plan visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/southern-zone-rock-lobster