Minister casts off fisheries review

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston has tipped a bucket on a review of the Fisheries Department commissioned by his predecessor Troy Buswell, describing it as flawed and ill-informed.

As revealed in _The West Australian _ yesterday, the review by the Sydney-based Centre for International Economics criticised Fisheries as too focused on conservation and called for it to be dramatically overhauled.

Mr Baston rejected many of the criticisms in the report, including suggestions the department was inefficient and should be less focused on stock sustainability.

The rebuke by Mr Baston casts doubt over the review, which cost taxpayers $60,000 and was initiated by Mr Buswell as he looked for savings in the State Budget.

"I find the comments regarding the department's efficiency surprising given Government's clear confidence in the department to deliver additional services to the West Australian public, including marine park compliance, aquatic bio-security and shark hazard mitigation," Mr Baston said.

Recfishwest chief Andrew Rowland said managing the competing demands for WA's fisheries resources was more complicated than ever but overall the department did an "excellent" job.

WA Fishing Industry Council boss John Harrison agreed, saying "WA has led the world in fisheries management for many years" and noting the value of commercial fisheries had risen sharply in the past two years.

The West Australian

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