Tag Archives: Western Australia

Fishers struggle as lobster ‘nearly as cheap as chocolate’

A dramatic collapse in export markets has flooded Australia with large quantities of cheap lobsters selling for as little as $35 a kilogram. At that price, fishers struggle to break even and processors are not getting enough orders to chew through the oversupply of fish, with one describing the price as “nearly as cheap as chocolate”. “I’m hearing fishermen struggling to maintain deckhands because they’re not earning enough money, fishermen talking about having to get a second job,” Mr Blake said. “It’s been very challenging.” Fishers used to sell lobsters into China for around $100 per kilogram but the industry has been locked out of that market since the outbreak of covid. >click to read< 08:04

Historic lifeboat from shipwrecked Maid of Lincoln rescued, restored, and needs a new home

A 137-year-old historic lifeboat rescued from the rafters of an old farm shed is now restored and in need of a public home. The lifeboat, which had hung in the shed’s rafters for decades, came from the Maid of Lincoln which was shipwrecked and sunk off Jurien Bay in the Mid West of Western Australia in 1891. It came to the attention of archaeologist Bob Sheppard who organised its rescue in March last year. Once it was safely removed from the rafters, Jurien Bay local Ron Snook took to lovingly restoring it. With the job now complete, the lifeboat is in need of a home. Video, >click to read< 12:53

Australian lobsters back on the Chinese menu as ‘grey trade’ fires up again

Australian lobster fishermen shut out of mainland China appear to be selling millions of dollars’ worth of crayfish to the once-booming market via unofficial “grey channels”, trade experts say. Commercial fishers across the country were left reeling in November when China appeared to impose an unofficial ban on Australian lobster exports that had been worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The suspension effectively stopped the trade with China, which had been buying more than 90 per cent of lobsters exported from Australia. >click to read< 11:48

Family fined $70,000 over black market rock lobster sales

A family from the WA Midwest fishing community of Leeman has been ordered to pay more than $70,000 in fines and costs after selling 76 black market Western Rock Lobster to undercover officers during an operation between June 2018 and April 2019. Ronald Francis Dennis, 29, and his parents Ronald George Dennis, 67, and Lorna Francis Weeks, 67, were caught in the sting selling lobsters to undercover Fisheries officials on four occasions. >click to read< 10:15

Our latest lobster boat: Force of Nature

Completed in late April 2020, some 12 months after contracts were signed, Force of Nature is a 22.4 metre Southerly Designs monohull which, like other recent Dongara Marine fishing and pilot boat newbuilds, combines an aluminium hull with a composite superstructure. The new boat is an upgrade from Perham’s current vessel, the 17.1 metre Conquest 55 Natural Selection, which was built for him by Sea Chrome Marine in 1994 and which Perham is selling to make way for Force of Nature.,, “When Natural Selection was built it was pretty much the average size crayboat, perhaps slightly above average if anything. In the 1990s only a handful of new boats, maybe one in every 20, were over 70 feet. Now that’s the average size for new Australian high speed lobster boats, and in fact its more like 75 feet for the Western Australian fishery. photo’s, video, >click to read< 14:29

‘Lobsters overboard’ as China bans live seafood trade over coronavirus fears

Australia’s seafood industry has been thrown into crisis by the ban, with local fishermen considering a plan to return thousands of lobsters to the open waters. The export industry has ground to a halt in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania as China usually imports about 90 to 95 per cent of locally-grown lobsters. >click to read< 16:47

Rock lobster industry rejects new WA deal that would increase supply for local consumers

The draft agreement was struck in February after the Government was forced to back down on its previous plan to take control of more than 17 per cent of the industry. But despite three months of negotiations the Government and the Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC) could not agree on a mechanism to deliver up to 315 tonnes of additional lobster for the WA market. Two proposals to deliver the additional domestic supplies were developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the WRLC, the Government said. ‘Government has destroyed all goodwill’: Nahan >click to read<15:21

Western Australia lobster families rally for industry’s future after government’s ‘cray grab’ announcement

WA lobster families took to the steps of Parliament House on Sunday to raise their concerns over the government’s plan to seize a sizeable portion of their catch. Over a 100 people stuck the sticker “Fishing Families Matter” over their clothes, and some spray-painted it onto their surfboards and sticks. Ana Paratore opted for a more creative approach to voice support for her second-generation crayfisherman husband, James. She stuck the sticker on her pregnant belly to show that the coming generation would also be impacted. >click to read<08:42

‘Only the beginning’: waking up to the great lobster grab of 2019

Governments do sneaky things at Christmas. They put out bad policy when the media is distracted, in holiday mode and under-resourced, in the hope no one will thoroughly analyse ideas that need intense scrutiny and research. Massive, damaging cuts are couched in language designed to appeal to voters and con busy reporters. Last year, it was cuts to regional education. Almost exactly twelve months later Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly released this gem: Boost for WA jobs and local lobster supply from WA’s most iconic fishery. Sounds terrific. And with the agreement of the crayfishing industry: “Western Rock Lobster (Council), have agreed on an innovative industry development package that will substantially grow the industry to provide more benefits to the Western Australian community.” Nothing to see here. Only good news. The truth begins to emerge,,, >click to read<13:16

Western Australia lobster industry gets boost

The Western Australian government plans to grow the lobster industry and boost local lobster supply. In early-November, the government explained there could be a potential growth of 500 jobs and economic growth within the industry. Fisheries minister Dave Kelly said more than 95 per cent of commercially caught the region’s rock lobster is exported to China. “Little flows into our local market for the enjoyment of Western Australians and tourists.>click to read<

Australia’s Largest High-speed Lobster Boat Delivered

Dongara Marine has delivered Australia’s largest capacity high-speed lobster boat, the 85-foot Holdfast. With capacity for 210 baskets or 6.2 metric tons of live lobster, Holdfast is the fourth 20+ meter lobster boat in as many years to be designed by Southerly Designs, joining Ohana (2015), Daydawn (2016), and Gambler (2017). Although not the lead builder for the Daydawn and Gambler projects, Dongara Marine played a key role as the manufacturer of their resin-infused composite wheelhouses. >click to read<

Lobster boat building boom in Western Australia a boost for quality catch, regional jobs

Record-sized rock lobster boats under construction in a small coastal town are driving a boat building employment boom in Western Australia. Fuelled by higher prices for their catch, some WA lobster fishermen are investing in newer, bigger boats, while others are expanding the carrying capacity of their existing boats. Dongara fisherman Clay Bass said he was spending about $4 million on a boat which would hold 6.5 tonnes of catch. click here to read the story 10:15

Prawn trawlers sit idle as fishermen turn to 457 visas for labour

It’s a boom season for the Carnarvon fishing fleet with colder water than usual in Western Australia’s protected Shark Bay spawning a bountiful king prawn and scallop catch. James Clement, marine biologist, former AFL footballer and head of the biggest trawler fleet ­licenced to fish Shark Bay, owned by ASX-listed company Mareterram, isn’t celebrating just yet. Despite the plentiful high-priced prawn harvest pouring into Mareterram’s Carnarvon wharf and packing sheds — the Shark Bay prawn season runs from late March to October — Mr Clement is having trouble keeping his 10 trawlers at sea for their 21-days-a-month continuous fishing time. A shortage of reliable labour and experienced fishing crew is hampering Mareterram’s total prawn catch, with issues including stress, inexperience, drugs and alcohol forcing some boats to return to port early mid-month to offload jittery crew before the scheduled full moon 10-day lay-off. click here to read the story 10:43

Fisherman backs shark-cull tourism

A third-generation Albany commercial fisherman has weighed into the ongoing shark cull debate, suggesting that the State Government explore the prospect of giving charter operators the licence to catch great white sharks as a tourism venture. Tony Westerberg, who has fished off the waters of the south coast for more than 40 years, says the ramifications of the reduction of shark fishing licences were evident, with surfers and divers continually being attacked. Teenager Laeticia Brouwer was the 15th person to be killed by a shark in WA since 2000 when she was attacked while surfing with her father in Esperance last month, prompting the debate’s reignition. click here to read the story 18:34

WA’s scallop quota doubled after stock recovery

The quota for WA’s commercial scallop fishery has almost doubled this season, due to a recovery of stocks after a marine heatwave in 2010/11. Fishermen will be able to take 330 tonnes in 2017, compared to 166 tonnes last season. Department of Fisheries principal scientist Mervi Kangas said the speed of recovery in the Shark Bay fishery had quickened.”The stocks are recovering. Denham Sound, which was the key area where most of the scallop take came from, has actually recovered,” Ms Kangas said. “The northern part of Shark Bay is still recovering, but it is improving each year.” continue reading the story here 19:57

WA Fisheries shark research lacks competency

greg-pickering-white-sharksGreg Pickering said any study of great white shark numbers needed to involve veteran spearfishing and fishing enthusiasts as well as abalone divers and commercial fishermen. “I’ve got to question their competency,” said Mr Pickering, a veteran of 34 years as an abalone diver and spearfisherman who survived 10 hours of surgery to his face and chest after he was bitten by a great white shark during a dive 180km east of Esperance in 2013. “People have stopped listening to Fisheries because they keep saying, ‘Our data doesn’t show any increase in numbers’. But maybe it’s the way they collect their data. “I’ve been attacked by a shark twice, spent half my life in the water, kept records of everything I’ve seen on every dive since 1983 but I’ve never had a call or an email. “There are a lot of guys with 30 or 40 years in the field with significant information to contribute. They’re in the water every day. You can’t pay for that sort of field work. But (Fisheries) feel they don’t need to talk to us because we don’t have a letter in front of our name saying, ‘Doctor so and so’.” Read the story here 18:42

Fishing rights restored in changes to marine parks in Queensland and Western Australia

1472508703157Commercial fishing rights will be reinstated, conservation zones expanded and new limits put on oil and gas exploration following a review of the controversial federal network of marine parks. Fishing rights will be restored principally in Queensland and Western Australia for commercial and recreational fishers, potentially saving millions of dollars in compensation. But after a long review Australia’s world-leading network of marine-protected areas remains largely intact. Fishing groups had complained about the process which led to the creation of the protected areas, claiming it had not been “science based”. But two reviews released yesterday found there had been good consultation on the original proposes and a sound scientific base to the reserve network. Read the rest here 10:56

China rock lobster deal under fire – gives a foreign entity control of a highly valuable WA commodity

5765158dd2012_b88169939z.1_20160618172702_000_gjnjcpf0.3_1-1bma5cdA veteran of WA’s rock lobster industry has hit out at a deal that allowed a Chinese conglomerate to buy local fishing rights. Peter Prideaux said the deal between Kailis Bros and Legend Holdings to create KB Foods set an alarming precedent for foreign ownership in the fishery. “The Western Rock Lobster Fishery is one of the most valuable fisheries in the world,” he said. “Competition for control, primarily by processors, and an ever smaller band of surviving fishers has driven access costs through the roof. “Pot prices and leasing costs have increased six-fold in about five years. This is not an industry suffering from lack of investment capital, in fact, quite to the contrary.” Mr Prideaux said the Legend deal effectively gave a foreign entity control of a highly valuable WA commodity. Read the rest here 11:26

Is there a monster killer shark on the loose off Perth?

35267A9200000578-3636449-image-a-7_1465640203585A fisheries drum line hook was snapped by a giant sea creature the day after British diver Doreen Collyer was killed, sparking fears that a monster shark is on the loose off Perth’s coastline. Tony Cappelluti, Fisheries metropolitan regional manager, said that officers saw part of a drum line set off Mindarie submerge at about 3.15pm on Monday, before confirming that the hook had been snapped in half. ‘The hooks being used are the same as those used during research tagging operations that have successfully caught large sharks greater than five metres,’ he told The West Australian. Read the rest here 15:40

Reopening Western Australia’s shark fishery could boost seafood supply and public safety

339trm2w-1386737351Reopening Western Australia’s metropolitan shark fishery could benefit public safety and give a much needed boost to the supply of premium seafood, according to a fishing industry chief. Western Australian Fishing Industry Council chief executive, John Harrison, has welcomed a call by Premier Colin Barnett for a scientific assessment of the Perth coast fishery’s closure in 2007, saying that reopening the commercial fishery may produce knock-on benefits for the public. Following a spate of recent attacks, fisheries and environmental experts have been asked to re-examine research to see if there is any link between the 2007 closure of the fishery and the increasing prevalence of great whites off Western Australia’s south west. “Political pressures caused the unwarranted closure of the metropolitan shark fishery that stretches from Lancelin to south of Mandurah in 2007,” Mr Harrison said. Read the rest here 18:53

Woman diver found dead in suspected ‘large white shark’ attack two days after Australian surfer Ben Gerring died

A woman’s body was discovered near Perth in Western Australia and police reports say she had “significant injuries consistent with a shark attack”. It is believed she had been diving near the northern suburb of Mindarie on Sunday morning local time. The Fisheries Department is setting up shark capture gear, saying there is a significant threat to public safety. The 60-year-old female was with a 43-year-old male diving partner in the reefs off Mindarie. The tragedy comes just two days after the death of Australian surfer Ben Gerring who died in hospital three days after losing his right leg in a shark attack. Read the rest here 13:30

NEW marine park off Broome that allows fishing has been slammed by green groups

stupid-mainDespite praising the “spectacular turquoise waters and abundant wildlife” including unique snub fin dolphins, Mr Jacob said there would not be any no-take fishing zones within the bay. It has infuriated green groups including the Pew Charitable Trusts and local campaigners Environs Kimberley, who said sanctuaries were essential to boost the number, size and diversity of marine life and protect threatened species. The new park, to be jointly managed with the Yawuru traditional owners, will ban commercial gillnet fishing and mining in Roebuck Bay but has no marine sanctuary zones. Read the rest here 10:36