WA: Patrols improve compliance & education activities
The State Government’s ongoing commitment to improving recreational fishing compliance and education received a boost with last night’s graduation of 12 new Fisheries and Marine Officers (FMOs).
The 12 officers have received about 15 weeks of training at the Department of Fisheries’ Marine Operations Centre, to prepare them for a range of duties, including land-based mobile patrols and seagoing duties.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the graduates would join the eight teams of existing FMOs dedicated to mobile patrols across the State.
“Direct contact with recreational fishers by FMOs provides important education opportunities to pass on information about fishing rules and to spread important messages about fishing for the future,” he said.
Department of Fisheries’ data shows that funding and increased mobile patrols with the introduction of a fleet of special four-wheel drives had proven successful.
“Mobile patrols across the State have made almost 34,000 contacts with recreational fishers, of which 42 serious matters were identified and a total of 78 alleged offences were recorded,” the Minister said.
“Some of those offences have been dealt with in court, and others are still undergoing prosecution but the high number of contacts reflects most recreational fishers obey the rules and do the right thing.”
Up to June 30 this year, mobile patrol officers had issued 463 official warning notices and 353 infringement notices for a range of offences for which fines were appropriate.
Most of the alleged offences were detected in the West Coast region, with more than 40 of them occurring between Preston Beach and Lancelin.
“The mobility of the patrols has helped the officers reach popular and remote fishing locations across Western Australia where they have been able to focus on a wide range of fisheries, including demersal marine scalefish, shore-based finfish, rock lobster, abalone and crabs,” Mr Moore said.
“The special four-wheel drives are equipped with high-tech communications equipment and also carry supplies of important Department of Fisheries’ publications to help provide information to fishers.”
The Minister said the mobile patrols were providing highly flexible resources to target problem areas and particular fishing seasons across WA. High visibility of patrol vehicles had attracted significant feedback from Recfishwest, the recreational fishers’ peak representative body.
Fishing licences are available through Australia Post or from the Department of Fisheries’ website and offices. More information on licences and fishing rules that apply in WA are available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.