WA Commercial fishers' licence fees waived as part of stimulus push

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley announced on Tuesday that additional relief measures valued at $1.3 million would given to Western Australia's commercial fisheries following last month's support package for the State's $448 million per year rock lobster fishery.

WA's fisheries were among the first to be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic after China cancelled imports of seafood and brought the State's rock lobster industry to a standstill.

Prior to the outbreak, China was WA's biggest market for rock lobster, taking close to 95 per cent of the commercial catch.

The government's management package for WA's rock lobster industry is already in place and providing some certainty to commercial fishers and an increase in supply to WA consumers. But there is now additional support for WA's other fisheries and the broader seafood sector.

Following consultation with the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC), the State Government agreed to waive a range of licence fees. Access fee payments will be deferred to reduce cash flow burdens on the commercial seafood sector.

These measures include licences for commercial fishers, aquaculture, processing, pearling and fishing tour operators.

A six-month extension of the usual timelines for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessments and certifications is also on offer - the first time the MSC has taken such a step in its 22-year history and a reflection of the dire challenges facing the global seafood market.

Shovel-ready capital investment projects are being assessed to potentially bring them on sooner to provide more stimulus and generate regional jobs over a number of years.

"WA's seafood is globally recognised as among the best in the world and it's important we help re-establish the markets that have such historic importance for our State," said Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley.

"The seafood industry has supported thousands of jobs - especially in our regional areas. As markets recover in Asia, we need to be ready to deliver again."

This story WA Commercial fishers' licence fees waived as part of stimulus push first appeared on The Esperance Express.