AUSTRALIA: Rock Lobster fishermen ask for subsidies

The Australian Rock Lobster fishery is well managed one and has received the MSC certification. It concerns mainly the Australian State of Western Australia (WA) and is a valuable source of income, mainly because of exports, for WA fishermen.

Though this year scientist have recommended to slash the quota to 5,000 tonnes, well below the long term quota of 11,000 tonnes

The cut in quota is so big that many frock lobster fishermen could be forced out of business. This is why Western Australia’s Fisheries Minister, Mr Norman Moore, is seeking relief for this embattled fishery. Mr Moore is discussing with his Federal counterpart, Fisheries Minister Tony Burke.

It seems that Mr Burke is ready to work with Mr Moore to ascertain whether federal funds, AUD 150,000 (USD 125,000) under the Exit with Dignity Scheme, could be spent to allow some fishermen to leave the industry.

Interesting to note in this issue is that the Federal Minister’s website includes an interview on this subject with Richard Hudson, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Rural on 9 August 2009, Mr Burke.

In the interview Mr Burke appears to be willing to listen to Western Australia demands for federal subsidies, though he points to the fact that this is not a federally (Commonwealth) managed fishery and therefore, he has no control over it. Mr Burke explains that, because the funds could be used for the buy back of fishing licenses, he should have something to say as regards the management of the fishery at issue. Buybacks are in fact a fisheries management decision.

Here are some links with news on the lobster crisis in Western Australia:

Rock lobster fishers ‘left to flounder’ (The West Australian, 27 July 2009)


Negotiations on the way for rock lobster payouts (The West Australian, 4 August 2009)

Lobster fisher payouts a 'cop out' (ABC, 5 August 2009)

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