Members are likely familiar now with the phrase “ARMA”, or the Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (WA). ARMA will replace our industry’s current principal legislation, the Fish Resources Management Act 1995 (WA) (FRMA) in the near future. There has been no decision yet as to the timing for the western rock lobster industry to transition to ARMA, which will be heavily contingent on appropriate subsidiary legislation (including the Aquatic Resource Management Strategy (ARMS) & Aquatic Resource Use Plans (ARUPs)) being negotiated and drafted. It is anticipated that rock lobster may transition sometime after 2023.
WRL’s ARMA working group (consisting of WRL’s CEO, Matt Taylor, Executive Officer, Carey-Ann Harper and independent expert, Dr Peter Rogers) have previously set out to develop two reports addressing ARMA. This first, titled ‘Report on ARMA and arising implications’ (the First Report) which is now available for members to read here identifies risks and opportunities for our industry under ARMA as well as expected changes in how the resource will be managed. The second report will utilise the First Report and the forthcoming Harvest Strategy to develop guiding principles and key elements for an ARMS and an ARUP for the western rock lobster resource. This second report will become increasingly detailed over time and ultimately act as our implementation plan under ARMA.
The First Report, which is now available, is a ‘living document’, which means it will be updated continually as information comes available, especially as we work with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in drafting ARMS & ARUPs and policy during the coming months.
The First Report is organised into a number sections. The first is an introduction to ARMA, its purpose as a legislative instrument and current progress towards full proclamation. The document then delves into the risks posed to our industry by ARMA’s introduction, then, conversely, the opportunities that are potentially available, including co-management arrangements. Similar to our current legislation FRMA, ARMA essentially provides a toolbox of legislation with increased scope to provide a range of opportunities for WRL and the management of the State’s rock lobster resource.
WRL now presents the First Report to its members to read and consider. We acknowledge the substantial ongoing contribution and industry knowledge that Dr Rogers provides to our working group. We thank him for his hard work in helping draft the First Report and look forward to our continued working relationship in developing the implementation plan under the Second Report.