Letter to Shire of Busselton, Prepared by T Fuller, 9447 4545, email firstname.lastname@example.org at request of AAA Executive
at meeting 6 May.
Chief Executive Officer,
Shire of Busselton, Locked Bag 1, BUSSELTON WA 6280
Objection to Proposed Fish Habitat Protection Area at Busselton Jetty.
The Australian Anglers Association (WA Division) objects to the inclusion of the end of the jetty in the proposed Fish Habitat
Protection Area (FHPA) at the Busselton Jetty.
The Association objects because it understands the effect is that the Fish Habitat Protection Area will include a ban on any
form of recreational fishing from the end of the jetty. This is an area of great importance to recreational anglers who do
not have access to boats.
The Association represents in excess of 6,000 club recreational anglers from clubs throughout the State. It actively supports
and endorses responsible fishing and the preservation of the environment so that all recreational anglers can enjoy
continued access through the long term sustainability of their fishing activities.
All comments in this submission refer to anglers who do not use boats, and who are thus restricted to shore fishing (in any
of its forms) and jetty fishing. The Association wishes to ensure that there is a definite distinction drawn between jetty
based recreational line fishing and recreational fishing from boats. Boat angling gives the anglers considerable freedom and
large areas in which to fish compared to the restricted areas that are available to shore and jetty bound anglers.
Description of the proposed FHPA.
The proposed FHPA has been described only in terms of the area it covers, being "the final 293 metres of the jetty, 100 metres
east and west of this entire section of jetty and 100 metres north of the jetty's northern end."
The recommendation to the Shire of Busselton as recorded in the Shire Council minutes do not give any other significant
details of the proposal, other than the words "and ultimately a Marine Sanctuary". This leads the Association to believe
the intention is that all recreational fishing will be banned in this area.
Objectives of the proposed FHPA.
We have not been able to locate any detailed statement of the objectives of the proposed FHPA. We understand that the underwater
Observatory and dive groups want to maximise the experience of these users in the vicinity of the observatory, and have
proposed the FHPA and thus a ban on recreational fishing as part of the ways to achieve this.
As a general requirement, we expect that the objectives of any proposals will be clearly stated in enough detail so that
what is trying to be achieved can be understood by all users.
Once the objectives are understood, users can decide if;
these objectives are necessary, reasonable, equitable
whether or not the impact on other users is acceptable as
part of the cost of achieving these objectives;
if the objectives should be modified to allow the
requirements of other users to be included;
if alternative means are possible to achieve these objectives,
and similar questions which are important whenever the use of any community owned asset is being decided.
The Association objects to the lack of detailed objectives being provided for the proposed FHPA. Without detailed objectives,
there is no way of knowing whether the FHPA is achieving its purpose, or if it is larger that necessary. It is too easy to
just say, "close off the area, and all will be well."
Need for an area free from recreational fishing.
The Association accepts that some area free from recreational fishing may be required for safety of divers and to preserve
resident fish and the environment in an area around the observatory so that users get a good experience out of visiting
the observatory or diving in the area. We submit that the fishing exclusion zone should be just large enough to ensure this
but no larger. It must recognise the importance of the end of this jetty to shore bound recreational anglers.
We have serious concerns with the proposal that the whole end of the jetty should be closed to recreational fishing and we
strongly oppose this, because we do not believe this is necessary to achieve a good experience for users of the Observatory
and for divers.
A Fish Habitat Protection Area does not have to exclude all forms of recreational fishing over its entire area. Different
parts of the FHPA can allow different activities where these are consistent with the objectives which have been agreed to by
the whole community. Every use should be allowed unless there are good reasons to limit some uses and the community supports
those restrictions. Any limits should be as liberal as possible consistent with the agreed objectives for the Jetty and the FHPA.
We believe this is a sharing issue for a resource which is owned by the whole community. The solution needs to be equitable
and maximize the benefits to all user groups involved. Everyone who has a wish to use the Jetty should have their
needs considered. It should not turn into a "one group wins, therefore another group loses" decision. No one user group
should get everything they want if that is achieved at the expense of other users.
Importance of the end of the Jetty.
Busselton Jetty is probably the best facility of this kind in our State and the one most used by anglers, because of its
accessibility to a large part of the State's population and the long history of recreational fishing.
Many anglers plan their family holidays in the Busselton area so they and their family can enjoy fishing at one of the few
remaining jetties in the State. The Observatory will add to the attraction this jetty has for recreational anglers.
The end of the jetty has the only really deep water on the jetty, and allows anglers who do not have access to a boat to
fish safely for many deep water pelagic species of fish in all weather. Other parts of the jetty do not have to same
attraction for these species of fish which are exclusively pelagic and will thus not be permanent residents.
Anglers have been waiting for some time for repairs to allow access to the end of the jetty and to the deepest water. Just
as dive groups want to maximize their experience, recreational anglers also have a legitimate expectation that their
fishing experience is also considered and not unduly restricted.
The recent deaths of four anglers washed from rocks while fishing on the south and south west coasts have emphasised the
need for and importance of safe fishing platforms for recreational anglers who do not have boats.
The Association urges that continued access for recreational anglers be allowed to the end of the jetty.
Balance between diving and fishing sites.
If enhancement of the underwater diving experience is planned as part of justification for the proposal to stop recreational
fishing from the end of the jetty, it should be noted that the proposed underwater observatory is for everyone to use and
gives everyone the opportunity to observe the marine life at the Jetty.
There should be no need for divers to be given exclusive access to any significant areas away from the Observatory if that
requires the exclusion of other users from areas such as the end of the jetty.
The State has provided divers with an exclusive dive site nearby by sinking the "Swan" in the area, and there is now a plan
to sink another ship as a dive site near Bunbury as part of the extensive West Coast Dive Park which contains many other
In contrast, the Busselton jetty is one of the very few sites in WA where recreational anglers without boats can fish in
comfort and safety into deep water. If the end of the jetty is closed to anglers, there isn't another equivalent jetty they
can use, whereas there are many other dive sites available.
Contribution by anglers to the restoration of the jetty.
Since the jetty was damaged by Cyclone Alby about twenty five years ago, anglers have been a major group advocating its repair
and retention. They have put substantial sums of money in to contribute towards this goal.
We are surprised at the number of anglers who have told us of their involvement and generosity towards the repair of the jetty,
and the locations they come from throughout the State. Visiting recreational anglers contribute significantly to the economy
of the Busselton area through their holidays in the area.
The State has also made significant contributions to the repair of the Jetty from taxpayers' funds through the Government's
Regional Infrastructure Fund. The jetty is thus an asset which belongs to the whole community. It needs to be accessible to
as many of the user groups as possible.
The Association encourages the decision making groups to respect the needs of recreational anglers when making a decision on
the Jetty's future, and to bear in mind anglers' contribution in the past, both directly and via community funds, and what
anglers will contribute in the future.
The Association is aware of publications which have reported that the amount of litter on the sea bed at the end of the jetty
has reduced since access has been disrupted, and use that to justify continued bans on fishing. Some litter may be the result
of accidentally dropping items while fishing, and some may be due to wind blowing items off the jetty.
Recreational anglers are not the only source of litter, although it is agreed they are likely to be the main source of litter
at places where they are the main users. Littering is a social problem whenever some people do not respect the environment and
do not follow common courtesy of respecting community property.
The fact that there will always be some small percentage of people who will litter, despite all the publicity and education and
laws, should never be used as an excuse to limit use and access by the majority of people who will act responsibly, and who
will treat the environment very well.
Banning an activity as a means of controlling a social problem is taking the easy way out, but is not equitable and is not
always effective, since it makes the responsible people into rule breakers, and the irresponsible people take no notice anyway.
The Association believes a combination of education and enforcement of existing laws should be used so that those that do
litter and are caught will pay a price, preferably high enough so that it makes them do the right thing in future.
1. wants anglers to have access to a reasonable area at the end of the jetty for recreational fishing and to enhance their
recreational fishing experience.
2. supports a reasonably sized fishing exclusion zone around the observatory, providing that does not prevent fishing at
the end of the jetty as in point 1.
3. endorses sharing the jetty, a community owned asset, equitably among all user groups.
4. supports education and enforcement to contain any impact such as litter resulting from the use of the jetty by the
general public and by recreational anglers.
This submission has been prepared for the Association by Terry Fuller, who can be contacted on 08 9447 4545 if there are
Australian Anglers Association (WA Division) Inc.
13 May 2003.
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