Monday, 31 October 2016
"The Peel-Harvey crab fisheries are the first in the world to receive a joint Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-tick for both the recreational and commercial fisheries," Mr Francis said.
"The MSC certification means that the Department of Fisheries' management, compliance and research efforts supporting these fisheries are in line with the global gold standard.
"Recfishwest and the Mandurah Licensed Fisherman's Association can be rightly proud of what they have achieved for the community by ensuring the fisheries continue to be sustainable.
"With the season opening tomorrow, recreational fishers can play their part in keeping the fisheries sustainable by sticking to the rules.
"I'm sure most crab fishers will do the right thing, but Fisheries and Marine Officers will be cracking down on anyone who doesn't, and the penalties can be severe. Recently, a fisher was fined more than $5,000 for taking undersize crabs."
The Minister said environmental conditions, including the recent cold and wet weather, meant many crabs that fishers came across in coming weeks would probably be undersized.
"In the early part of the season, it may take recreational fishers a little longer to gather a feed of legal-size blue swimmers and I urge fishers to measure their crabs carefully," the Minister said.
"The minimum legal size is 127mm and any undersize crabs must be returned to the water immediately and unharmed, so they can be left to grow and moult as the weather warms up."
Department of Fisheries compliance and education officers will hand out free crab gauges to recreational fishers at many popular Peel-Harvey crabbing locations.