Winter cray season ‘a risk’

Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

A Bunbury professional diver has raised fears about the safety of inexperienced divers catching rock lobster in the South West during winter.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly recently announced that recreational fishers would be able to catch rock lobster all year round.

Coastal Water Dive owner and professional diver Torry Goodall said the traditional rock lobster season had worked well and the change to all-year round fishing could prove dangerous to inexperienced divers.

“The traditional season kept us away from the whales moving, the sharks doing their thing, the salmon runs and it keeps the divers out of the water that probably don’t know any better,” he said.

“There are probably not enough divers in the South West that are capable of handling the South West winter.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly.
Camera IconFisheries Minister Dave Kelly. Credit: The West Australian

“One minute it can look calm and clear and then an hour later it can just change. You can be out there and it is wonderful and all of a sudden a thousand salmon can swim by or a whale can go by – that is what it is like in winter, it is just nature.”

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said it was unlikely allowing rock lobster fishing in winter would result in an increase in the number of recreational licences.

“If any rock lobster fishing is undertaken during this period, it is likely to be undertaken by people who already hold a licence,” Mr Kelly said. “As with all recreational fishing activities – fishers must take personal responsibility for their safety.

“This requirement applies at all times of the year, including whether they are boat fishing, fishing off the rocks or diving.

“It is up to the individual to assess the location they want to fish, the local weather and sea conditions and ensure they don’t place themselves or others at risk.”

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