04 April 2019
Industry continues to support increasing the accessibility and availability of more affordable Western rock lobster to local consumers and recognises this will boost lobster related tourism and hospitality in Western Australia.
WRL CEO Matt Taylor said the Western Rock Lobster Council is surprised that Government have cancelled the festival, the local lobster supply trial discussions, and the Premiers Taskforce which was established to address resource access security.
“It is disappointing Government have ceased discussions but industry remains committed to establishing a pragmatic and sensible solution for delivering more local lobster onto the domestic market,” he said.
“Industry are supportive of an enhanced local lobster program and recognise this will boost lobster related tourism and hospitality in Western Australia.”
Mr Taylor said the local lobster supply trial discussions with Government have been difficult as a result of the damaged relationship caused by the Government’s recent attempt to nationalise the industry.
“The relationship and trust between Government and industry has been damaged,” he said.
“This has created a difficult environment for Government and industry to achieve common ground on how to implement the most appropriate local lobster supply trial.
“WRL undertook a comprehensive consultation process including a coastal tour and survey of all its members, before providing its feedback to Government on what changes would be necessary to achieve an agreement with industry.”
WRL Chair Terry Lissiman said following strong industry feedback WRL wrote to Government recommending two options for moving discussions forward, but that WRL had not yet received a response from the Government on those recommendations.
“We did not walk away from discussions but instead put forward recommendations for moving forward,” Mr Lissiman said.
“We recommended establishing a local lobster working group to design a local lobster supply trial and commencing the Premiers Taskforce to address resource access security.
“Unfortunately, our feedback to Government resulted in the Government ceasing discussions that were necessary to achieve these important outcomes for both industry and the Western Australian community.”
Mr Lissiman said that while Government have walked away from discussions, WRL will continue with its industry initiative for increasing local lobster supply, and enhance further tourism and hospitality initiatives.
“There is strong industry support and continued requests to increase the current Local Lobster Program, a WRL initiative from 2016,” Mr Lissiman said.
“The Local Lobster Program is the cheapest method of supplying lobster onto the local market and involves back of boat sales of tagged lobster to the public and restaurants.”
Western Rock Lobster was the first fishery in the world to be certified as ecologically sustainable by the international Marine Stewardship Council.
“Since the early 1950s, our fishers have been the custodians of a sustainable and iconic industry, which today supports more than 2,400 jobs and contributes over $500 million to Western Australia’s economy annually,” Mr Lissiman said.
“We want to ensure our industry continues to support our coastal communities and remains sustainable and viable for generations to come.”
All media enquiries to: Clare Cane Clare@westernrocklobster.org or (08) 9432 7709