Charter boat rule changes to boost WA lobster tourism

WA’s marine tourism sector is set to grow with more opportunities to catch WA’s Western Rock Lobster.

The McGowan Government has introduced new rules for selected charter vessels in a three-year trial, boosting rock lobster fishing tourism and increasing jobs.

The trial aims to enhance marine tourism by improving the rules that apply to some authorised rock lobster fishing charter operators.

Under the trial beginning in November, pot numbers allowed per vessel will increase from six to 12, increased boat limits for small charter boats up from 24 to 40 and increased boat limits for larger charter boats from 24 to 80.

It will also provide charter operators with the flexibility to store lobster on vessels and tend to pots prior to conducting rock lobster tours and new catch reporting requirements to evaluate the success of the trial.

WA’s individual recreational fisher bag limit of eight lobsters will remain the same.

The Tourism Council WA has estimated average out-of-state lobster tour visitor spends more than $5,000 in WA, supporting local jobs in coastal towns.

The trial will not impact the commercial sector because the charter catch is part of the recreational quota.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said it will boost the experience of rock lobster tourists and WA.

“The opportunity to ‘catch and cook’ iconic Western rock lobster is a unique Western Australian experience that we are confident will attract locals, intrastate guests and international visitors,” Mr Kelly said.

“This trial will not only unlock the tourism potential of our coastal communities, but also service Western Australian’s who don’t own a boat but want to experience the thrill of catching a lobster.”

“Enhancing tourism opportunities to support the local economy and create jobs by showcasing our most unique seafood is a great idea put forward by the peak bodies. I thank them for their leadership and work.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the trial helped the experience a “must do” for all WA visitors.

“This trial initiative will serve as a great tourism drawcard for interstate and international visitors who travel to Western Australia to experience our natural attractions, pristine environment, stunning landscapes and quality food and wine offerings,” he said.

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