On 27 to 31 July 2020 WRL undertook a coastal tour, part of which was to discuss and debate the three clear annual season date options resulting from previous industry consultation including about the COVID response package.
- 15 January – 14 January (current arrangement)
- 1 April – 31 March
- 1 July – 30 June
On 10 August 2020, Members were polled to provide their preferences for the below options, being the three main options debated on the coastal tour. Processors were also asked to provide their feedback.
- Option 1 – proceed with the current arrangements for a 6.5 month season from 1 July 2021 to 14 January 2022 then future seasons to remain 15 January to 14 January
- Option 2 – have an 18 month season from 1 July 2021 to 14 January 2023 then future seasons to remain 15 January to 14 January
- Option 3 – have a 12 month season from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 then future seasons to remain 1 July to 30 June (aligned with financial years)
The results of that poll were:
- 349 MFLs responded (of which 64% were active fishers)
- 46.7% of MFLs wanted Option 3 (12 month season – financial year seasons)
- 32.4% of MFLs wanted Option 2 (18 month season – 15 January to 14 January seasons)
- 20.9% of MFLs wanted Option 1 (6.5 month season – 15 January to 14 January seasons)
- 4 of the 5 processors that responded wanted Option 3 (financial year season). They have a combined market share of 30%
WRL met with Minister Tinley following the poll to discuss its results and future season dates. The Minister encouraged WRL to continue with its industry consultation and agreement was reached to develop a consensus view from all stakeholders (including DPIRD) to come up with the best alternative option for future seasons. To progress, WRL facilitated a full-day workshop to thoroughly analyse all the different season date options supplied and come up with a single recommendation to put to industry for a yes/no vote of support.
The workshop was well attended, with the WRL Board, Fishing Operations Committee, TACC Committee, the two processors not on the TACC Committee, two representatives from each of the six PFAs and DPIRD representatives invited.
The result of that workshop was:
- 92% of the industry leaders (including the four major processors) recommended change to future season dates of 1 May to 30 April
On 25 September 2020, Members were asked to vote whether they supported future season dates changing to commence on 1 May and finish on 30 April each year. It was noted that Minister Tinley would only consider changing future season dates if industry’s preferred alternative arrangement for future season dates had strong industry support similar to that for the COVID response package, interpreted to mean at least 75%.
The results of that poll were:
- 294 MFLs responded
- Of those MFLs, 64% supported the recommended change to future season dates of 1 May to 30 April
- Therefore 36% of responding MFLs did not support the recommended change
- Of those MFLs that supported the recommended change to future season dates of 1 May to 30 April, 63% were active fishers