7. Rescind the regulation deeming all fillets to be Category 1 Fish.
AAA supports this proposal.
8. Create a prescribed value in the regulations for any fillet of fish of $15.00 per kilo.
AAA did not raise this issue but supports this proposal.
9. Include a defence to S50 and S51(1) of the FRMA to allow the landing of up to 2 days' bag limit of whole fish,
or an accumulated quantity of filleted fish up to 20kg per person, or 1 day's bag limit of whole fish plus 10 kg
of fillets, that is as allowed by Regulation 16(D).
AAA supports this proposal.
10. Allow fillets of any size to be transported back from islands, which involve an overnight stay.
AAA fully supports this proposal which is consistent with the earlier consultations, and solves "the limits on
the overnight trip to Rottnest" problem.
11. Prohibit the transportation of filleted fish on the waters of the inner gulfs of Shark Bay.
AAA did not raise this issue, but commented as follows:- . AAA is aware of the special conservation
needs of Pink Snapper in Shark Bay. AAA understands this proposal is a return to the rules which
applied prior to the general changes introduced on 1 October, and that those rules were fully debated
by a specialist consultative group.
AAA notes that this proposal has an affect on the options for possession limits for fish on Dirk Hartog
Island where these will need to be transported by water back to the mainland. AAA notes that this does
not apply to people who are able to afford air transport from the island.
AAA believes that a total ban on the transportation of fillets of any species of fish is unnecessary
given regulations 16B(1) (b) (c) (d) (e) and (f) which cover packaging and identification of fillets,
and regulations 16B(2) and 16B(3), all of which could be used in the special case of transport of fish
fillets by sea from Dirk Hartog Island to the mainland, particularly for people who have only been
fishing from the shore on the Island.
12. Permit the possession of up to two days' bag limit of whole fish where a person has
been at sea for at least 24 hours.
AAA supports this recommendation.
13. Exempt fishers from the labeling requirement while on trips to sea of less than 24 hours.
AAA supports this recommendation.
14. Allow fishers to transport fish in any container or package provided the container is labeled.
AAA supports this recommendation.
Changes we asked for which were not included.
(1) Filleting exemptions for large fish. (not included)
Regulation 15 allows filleting of mackerel and tuna while at sea, but is based on the species,
not on the fillet length or the size of the fish.
As such it does not give equivalent catch care for other large species or large individual
fish, such as Cobia, Mulloway, etc, despite the stated intention of the exemption being
maximum catch care balanced against any possible compliance issues.
AAA therefore ask for this exemption to apply to fish based on their size rather than be
limited to specific species. See the Update allowing filleting Category 1 and 2 fish on day trips - no time limit.
(2) Cutting large fish into two pieces. (not included)
We asked to be allowed to cut large fish into a maximum of two pieces, each required to
be of some minimum length, in exactly the same way as the current regulations have set a
minimum length for fillets in some circumstances.
Clarification:- Definition of a day and 24 hours.
A day is defined in the regulations as "one day means a period of 24 hours commencing at midnight..."
AAA has always believed that a "day" is a calendar day starting at midnight as commonly used
for almost all other purposes, and as stated in the definition in the regulations.
AAA has interpreted the proposed changes as not preventing a person from fishing on two
consecutive days in two separate boating trips in less than 24 hours, and being allowed up
to one day's bag limit on each trip.
AAA has also interpreted the proposed changes and the current regulations as not imposing any
24 hour period limit on shore based fishing for possession limit purposes other than midnight to midnight.
If any of these interpretations are not correct, then AAA wishes to discuss these points further.
AAA is committed to sustainable fishing practices and responsible fishing for the future.
Our intention has only been to simplify the rules, allow anglers the options which were always
understood to be available to them from consultation during the West Coast and Gascoyne reviews,
and to allow anglers to chose the best possible catch care to suit their circumstances and facilities.
AAA believes that these changes will improve the acceptance by the recreational fishing community
of the new management packages, and will provide considerably better catch care under some of
the difficult situations encountered on longer trips, in hot weather and in remote areas.
However, some of the changes we requested which have not been agreed to are also important for
acceptance by the recreational fishing community of the new management packages, and for better
catch care. Further action will depend on recreational anglers' reactions to the changes when
formally announced and how well they are supported by publicity and education.
There has been a great deal of confusion about the new rules. These proposals should
reduce the impact of the changes from the rules introduced on 1 October, but much more effort is
needed to draft the rules with simple wording, provide simple publicity material and to educate
anglers about the rules.
Confirming letter from the Minister for Fisheries, 16 Dec 2003.
Ref:8-17222; 8-17223; 8-1 7224
Mr T Fuller
Australian Anglers Association
P0 Box 2200
MARMION WA 6010
Dear Mr Fuller
Thank you for your three letters dated 28 October regarding filleting at sea and possession limits.
After careful consideration of the issues raised in your letters and advice from other stakeholders, I have approved a
number of changes to the regulations. I believe these changes make the regulations more workable, while still allowing
the management arrangements to be enforced.
In summary the management changes I have approved to allow fishers to fillet fish include the following:
o Exempting Category 3 Fish from the filleting at sea restrictions. These fish, such as herring and sand whiting have a
lower risk of over exploitation and do not have minimum size lengths.
o Allowing fishers to trunk fish (remove the head and tail) on fishing trips to sea of any duration, provided the trunk
length is over the minimum legal size limit for that species. Species with slot limits, such as tailor and cods, will
not be included in this exemption.
o Category 1 and 2 Fish can be filleted at sea on trips longer than 24 hours (reduced from 48 hours) provided the fillet
length is greater than 30cm. It should be noted that I have already made exemptions for long pelagic fish, such as mackerel
and tuna, which can be filleted at sea on day trips. See the Update allowing filleting Category 1 and 2 fish on day trips - no time limit.
o To overcome issues around the filleting of some species for bait, and due to the fact that Category 3 Fish will be
allowed to be filleted at sea, I have approved removing the prohibition on the possession of fillets at sea. I have also
approved that all unlisted species will be deemed to be Category 3 Fish - not Category 2 Fish (as is currently the case).
o I have approved allowing people to transport fillets of any size from islands which involves an over night stay. The
enforcement of size limits will be at the point of landing on the island. This will allow people to transport filleted fish
from key holiday destinations like Rottnest Island.
o Due to the fact that that Category 3 Fish can be filleted on day trips and any size fillets can be transported off islands,
I have also approved rescinding the regulations which state that two fillets will equal one fish and all fillets shall be
deemed to be Category 1 Fish.
o I don't believe labelling requirements are necessary on day trips to sea and have approved exempting fishers from this
o Finally, to allow people on extended trips to land up to the possession limit of fish I have approved including a
defence in the regulations to S50 and S51(1) of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 to allow the landing of up to two
days' bag limit of whole fish, or 10kg of fillets plus one days' bag limit of whole fish, or an accumulated quantity of
filleted fish up to 20kg per person.
It is likely that the new regulation amendments will not come into effect until February next year. Until this time
Fisheries and Marine Officers will take an education approach and advise anglers of the changes to the rules.
Should you have any questions in relation to my approvals please contact Mr Nathan Harrison at the Department of
Fisheries on 9482 7368.
Thank you for raising your concerns with me and I look forward to your ongoing participation in the management of
Kim Chance MLC
MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES. 16 DEC 2003
Update allowing filleting Category 1 and 2 fish on day trips - no time limit, and advising of delays in rewriting the regulations.
Mr T Fuller
Secretary, Australian Anglers Association
PO Box 2200, MARMION WA 6020
I would like to inform you that following further consideration of the issues around filleting at sea, the Minister has approved the filleting of Category 1 and 2 fish on day trips provided the fillet length is greater than 30cm.
Parliamentary Council have been informed of the Minister's decision and requested to draft amending regulations. Unfortunately, at this time the Department is yet to receive a first draft of the regulations to bring into effect the new management arrangements around filleting at sea and possession limits. When the Department receives a copy of the draft regulations I will ensure both AAA and Recfishwest are consulted on the wording of the regulations.
In the interim Fisheries and Marine Officers have been informed of the Minister's decision and advised to adopt an educative approach to the new arrangements when dealing with the public.
If you have any question please contact me on 9482 7368.
I look forward to your continued participation in the future management of recreational fishing.
A/Program Manager Recreational Fisheries
30 March 2004
Letter 7 April 2004 to Department of Fisheries demanding publicity about the changes to the regulations because of excessive delays in rewriting them.
7 April 2004
Department of Fisheries
Thank you for the Department's letter Ref: 777/03 dated 30 March advising of proposed changes to the filleting at sea regulations for category 1 and 2 fish, and giving an update on the changes to the regulations for filleting at sea and possession limits.
In that letter we have been advised that the Department has still not received any drafts of the amended regulations about the new management arrangements for filleting at sea and possession limits.
The Minister announced these changes four months ago in State Parliament on 5 December 2003, and now your Department tells us that you still cannot advise when these regulation changes will be ready even for discussion with the Association and with Recfishwest, and for introduction. This is despite the Minister saying in Parliament on 5 December, quote Hansard "We are hopeful that the new variations to the regulations will be introduced by February" end quote. The Minister used the words "by February" not "during", and not "after".
Some of these changes are necessary to remove regulations which were introduced by the Department of Fisheries itself after completely ignoring clear written proposals in the West Coast recreational fishing review documents.
Other changes are necessary to remove the unwanted effects of poorly written regulations which were introduced following the refusal of the Department of Fisheries to properly consult with recreational fishing representative bodies, and the refusal of Department of Fisheries officers to consider questions about some of these effects, and to later claim they were "unexpected".
To our knowledge, the Department of Fisheries has not issued any public information about these proposed changes. The Fisheries web site contains only the October 2003 issue of brochures containing the old regulations and there is no mention of any proposed changes to these.
The letter also says "Fisheries and Marine Officers have been informed of the Minister's decision and advised to adopt an educative approach to the new arrangements when dealing with the public."
This statement is unclear whether the officers will be advising that the proposed changes can be used, or will merely be advising that some changes to the regulations are pending, and will be advising anglers that they should comply with the unacceptable existing regulations as written.
We have been advised that some recreational fishermen contacted by Fisheries Officers have been told about the existing regulations and have not been informed that any changes are proposed and pending, with the implication that they must comply with the current regulations as written.
Even with the best possible interpretation, it appears that the Department of Fisheries is treating this whole subject with a very low priority and thus has demonstrated that it has no commitment to giving recreational anglers fair and equitable regulations and fixing unsuitable regulations introduced by its own actions.
This situation is completely unacceptable to the Australian Anglers Association, and we cannot accept that there are ANY valid reasons for any further delays in implementing the changes which have been advised by the Minister.
At the very least, we expect an immediate public announcement by the Department of Fisheries that all the proposed changes to the regulations now apply, with sufficient detail for recreational anglers to understand them, and for the anglers to use in any dealings with Fisheries or Transport inspectors.
This announcement should be distributed to all of the outlets which have received the brochures, particularly Fisheries own web site, pending the discussions with the Association and Recfishwest about the exact wording of the regulation changes and introduction of the formal changes to the written regulations.
Can you please advise us what action the Department of Fisheries intends to take on this so that we may consider what further action we may need to take to finalise these particular changes.
Terry Fuller, Secretary, Australian Anglers Association (WA Division) Inc.
PS. I saw that Nathan Harrison was doing a media thing at Hillarys 8 April so went down to let him know what we've done, and gave him a copy of the letter which had been sent to his Manager. I told him the Department of Fisheries will have a serious publicity problem coming up if they don't do something very soon - eg public announcements, website, brochures/leaflets etc. like we have demanded.
Nathan is acting Recreational Fisheries Manager. He told me:-
1. Fisheries Inspectors have been told that the Minister's announcements about the changed rules are to be used now, they are IN, as the Minister announced, regardless of what the old written regulations say.
2. He wants to be told if any fisheries inspectors are still talking about/using the old rules.
3. The delay is "not Fisheries' fault", they have to wait for the parliamentary draftsmen to write up the law and regulation changes.
I told him I reckon a day would be enough to write the changes, and 4 months with no end in sight is FAR too long. I compared that with how they have in the past introduced tighter limits at very short notice, so where there's a will there's a way. I hope he got the message. DO SOMETHING.
Anyway, current bottom line is:- the regulation changes are IN!. Here is a summary of the changes which are now IN (April 2004) ,
Please contact us if (when) you get confused. Information is power.
Mr T Fuller
Australian Anglers Association
PO Box 2200
MARMION WA 6010
Thank you for your letter of 7 April regarding changes to the regulations for filleting at sea and possession limits.
I can assure the Australian Anglers Association (AAA) that the Department of Fisheries takes the amendments to the recreational fishing rules very seriously and agency staff have given a high priority to progressing this legislation.
I have been advised that in the process of drafting the legislation further advice was provided to the Minister to remove some ambiguities, to ensure the amended fishing rules are both workable and consistent.
You may recall that the Minister approved reducing the time when people could take their second bag limit at sea from 48 hrs to 24 hrs. This recommendation was going to be drafted by Parliamentary Council on the basis that 24 hours applied from the time of departure. The Department believed the rules would be clearer and easier to understand if 24 hrs was deemed to be the same period as when fishing from the shore or a boat. The Minister agreed with this position and 24 hrs or "one day" with respect to the take of finfish will apply from midnight to midnight and not from the time commencing at departure.
During the disallowance debate the Minister approved that Category 1 and 2 fish could be trunked provided the trunk length was over a certain size. Given this approval the Department believed that consideration should be given to allowing Category 1 and 2 fish to be filleted on day trips provided, a minimum fillet length applies. The Minister also agreed with this position.
The writing of policy advice on these issues, the time taken for the Minister to consider these issues, and then providing advice to Parliamentary Council has added time to the drafting process.
I am sure you will agree that it is important to get this legislation right and time spent now will avoid the need for further changes.
I have been advised that the Department hopes to receive a draft of the new regulations from Parliamentary Council before the end of next week.
To ensure the drafting process is transparent and conducted in a spirit of cooperation with the recreational fishing community, the draft regulation will be circulated to both Recfishwest and the Australian Anglers Association (AAA) for comment prior to the gazettal.
In the interim I can advise you that all recreational fishing advisory material is currently being rewritten to reflect the Minister's approvals. I will also ensure that the Departments web site is updated to reflect the changes being drafted.
When a gazettal date is determined for the new regulations to come into effect, the Department will also issue a press release to further advise the public of the changes.
In the interim as pointed out in Mr Harrison's letter, Fisheries and Marine Officers will take an educational approach and advise people of changes approved by the Minister. Under this approach Fisheries and Marine Officers will not be prosecuting people for offences which are conflict with the regulations being drafted.
I trust this action is satisfactory to the AAA.
13 April 2004
Letter 3 January 2004 to the Minister asking for advice of the changes to the regulations before
they are gazetted.
The Honourable Kim Chance, MLC,
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Consultation With AAA About Changes to Recreational Fishing Regulations.
Thank you for letter of 16 December 2003 advising of proposed changes to the recreational fishing regulations to cover
the issues raised in our three letters of 28 October 2003, and your comments about looking forward to AAA's ongoing
participation in the management of recreational fishing.
Your reply raises some issues which we will cover in separate letters.
In this letter we ask for the earliest possible advice to AAA of the exact wording of all of the changes to the regulations
as soon as these are drafted, and before they are Gazetted.
We ask this so that we can ensure that the real effects of the changes are as advised in the extensive negotiations with
the Department of Fisheries, as advised in your letter, and so that these changes to the regulations do not repeat the
mistakes of the past by introducing unwanted restrictions.
We are concerned that the proposed changes are described in different ways in the working papers produced during the
negotiations with the Department of Fisheries and in your letter. The differences could lead to different interpretations
of some of the details of the changes to be introduced.
Many of the concerns we raised in our recent letters were a direct result of the lack of adequate consultation with
Recfishwest, with Associations such as ours and with the public about the details in the regulations which were
introduced on 1 October.
We assumed that the Department of Fisheries would convert the details in the West Coast and Gascoyne Reviews into
simple, workable regulations which were consistent with the reviews.
Despite the long periods available between the reviews and the introduction of the regulations, the briefing by
Department of Fisheries at the very last minute on 30 September showed there were serious problems with the regulations.
The effect and wording of some of the regulations did not match the details in the extensive public consultation
over the reviews, and some effects and details were added which had not been covered in any of the review documents.
Some of these problems could easily have been avoided by earlier and more detailed consultation. This would have
saved a great deal of work and unnecessary public confusion which has affected the acceptance of the remainder of the changes.
We want to ensure that problems such as these are not repeated in the changes to be introduced as a result of our
Please be assured that we recognise the role of Recfishwest as the peak body. We keep RFW informed and cooperate
fully with Recfishwest on all issues, however at times we take independent action on some issues.
As the organisation which researched, publicised and represented these issues, AAA will be able to make a significant
contribution in this stage of the changes.
We therefore ask for the earliest possible advice to AAA of the exact wording of all of the proposed changes to the
regulations as soon as these are drafted, and before they are Gazetted.
We also ask for early advice if there are any reasons why we will not be given access to the exact wording of all of
the proposed changes before they are Gazetted.
Australian Anglers Association (WA Division) Inc.
The Minister has replied to our letter asking for consultation and details of the changes to the
regulations before they are gazetted.
Mr T Fuller, Secretary, Australian Anglers Association (WA Division) Inc
P0 Box 2200, MARMION WA 6020
Dear Mr Fuller
Thank you for your letter of 3 January to the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries regarding changes to the management arrangements for recreational fishing.
I have been advised that recreational fishing regulations currently being drafted by Parliamentary Council will be discussed with Recfishwest and the Australian Anglers Association (AAA), prior to the regulations being finalised.
If you have any questions on the draft regulations please contact Mr Nathan Harrison at the Department of Fisheries on 9482 7368.
Thank you for raising your concerns with me and I look forward to your ongoing participation in the management of recreational fishing.
Bob Kucera APM JP MLA
A/G MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
22 JAN 2004
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