Not such a cray-z idea

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Email Geoff Vivian
Deckhand Chris Kane passes a cray pot down to skipper Adam Schram as deckhand Luke Vearing looks on. Mayor Shane Van Styn said the industry was well managed by the existing fishermen.
Camera IconDeckhand Chris Kane passes a cray pot down to skipper Adam Schram as deckhand Luke Vearing looks on. Mayor Shane Van Styn said the industry was well managed by the existing fishermen. Credit: Geoff Vivian

Geraldton’s mayor has lent partial support to the State Government’s planned rock lobster quota overhaul, arguing it will help tourism and a push for the city to host an international lobster festival.

While Shane Van Styn said he did not support WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly’s plans to create government-owned lobster quotas, he was enthusiastic about several initiatives in the proposed crayfish industry reforms.

“It is no secret that it is often difficult to access lobsters here in Geraldton,” Mr Van Styn said.

“Lobster as a foodstuff should be ubiquitous in Geraldton, it should be in pies, in sandwiches, in a la carte dining options, and every-thing in between.

“To achieve this we applaud the minister’s decision to allocate part of the industry quota to domestic supply.”

Mr Van Styn said he would support any way of ensuring a cheap and affordable lobster supply to the domestic market and local hospitality industry because it would help grow the Mid West tourism market.

He said Geraldton should be the base for a proposed international lobster festival.

“Geraldton is ‘ground zero’ for the national lobster fishing industry and already has established relationships with our biggest lobster customers in China,” he said.

“We believe it is entirely logical that such a festival be held in Geraldton and done in such a way that is inclusive of surrounding towns from Cervantes to Kalbarri.

“It would celebrate all that is great about our lobster industry here in the Mid West.”

The mayor also called for the proposed spiny lobster research institute to be based in Geraldton.

“We have excellent training facilities at both TAFE and the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute and also close access to the large lobster fishery out at the Abrolhos Islands,” he said.

“We believe Geraldton would make an ideal home for the spiny lobster research institute.”

The mayor shared his National Party colleague Shane Love’s jitters about Mr Kelly’s decision to increase the annual WA rock lobster quota from 6300 tonnes to 8000, and retain 1385 tonnes in government ownership.

“Any increase in quota that affects the sustainability of fish stocks or the industry that is well managed currently by the existing fishermen is not supported,” Mr Van Styn said.

A spokesperson for Mr Kelly said the Government intended to gradually increase the annual rock lobster quota from 6300 to 8000 tonnes over five years, based on scientific advice.

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