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WA considers Aboriginal fishing rights

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 17 December 2003


The Western Australian Department of Fisheries says further consultation will be needed before a proposed Aboriginal fishing strategy is finalised.

The strategy, compiled by an independent working group, recommends that traditional fishing be recognised as a distinct sector under the law.

It makes 39 recommendations, including proposals for different bag and size limits and the development of fishing-related economic opportunities for Aboriginal people.

A six-month public comment period has ended but the department says further consultation is needed on the issue of customary fishing.

Executive officer Ben Fraser says the report identifies the need for Aboriginal people to be involved in the management of fisheries.

"It's exactly how that is done which is always going to be a little bit contentious," he said.

"Customary fishing is quite detailed and complicated and it's probably going to require a little bit further consideration."

The department has received submissions from Aboriginal groups, native title representative bodies and fishing industry groups.

"Some of those strategies include training and employment of Aboriginal fisheries officers and greater education programs around customary fishing," Mr Fraser said.


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