Snorkeling in, fishing out

A PUSH to overturn the State’s ban on fishing at Denmark’s Greens Pool failed last week, and a snorkel trail is set to take over from angling at the stunning natural attraction.

In the Legislative Council on May 9, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Rick Mazza moved a disallowance motion to can the ban.

“When this decision was announced in a media statement on 11 December 2018, Minister [Dave] Kelly cited safety concerns around the interaction between spearfishing and swimming,” he said. 

“I am unaware of any documented incidents between spear-fishers and swimmers that would justify this closure.

“To have a permanent ban at Greens Pool is to deny a sector of the community the ability to also enjoy those surroundings, particularly when a seasonal ban would provide them to use it when there is less activity there.”

But Greens MLC for South West Diane Evers said there were good reasons for the ban.

“… Greens Pool covers a very small stretch of beach where people can swim, children can learn to swim, people can do their laps and all sorts of things,” she said.

“A seasonal ban will not address the issue of fishing paraphernalia continuing to litter the beach and sand in the shallows where children play and around the rocks where snorkelers explore. 

“A seasonal ban will confuse the issue as many people swim in these waters throughout the year.”

Then, Liberal MLC for South West Steve Thomas said he commenced swimming and fishing at Greens Pool some 20 to 30 years ago.

“In the early days, I fished there and I will admit that in the early days, I spearfished there,” he confided.

“In those days, it was a bit more of a wild and woolly coast, but I have been going there for a very long time.

“I have not fished at Greens Pool for something like 15 years, because, in my view, it is not appropriate and it is not safe.”

Dr Thomas said he would be “embarrassed now to take my fishing gear down there if there was a crowd of people there”.

“I asked the Denmark Chamber of Commerce to approach its membership, and they were supportive of the ban in place,” he said.

“I approached the ratepayers’ association, which sent an email to its membership. 

“Sixty per cent of the membership replied within two days in support of the ban, with nobody opposing it.”

As for Parliamentary consultation, 24 Upper House members voted against Mr Mazza’s motion. Only him, Member for South West Colin Tincknel and his One Nation colleagues Robin Scott and Charles Smith, and Liberal Democrats MLC Aaron Stonehouse voted to rescind the ban.

Louise Duxbury at Greens Pool on the day the disallowance motion was comprehensively defeated. Photo: Chris Thomson

Down at the pool on May 9, Louise Duxbury outlined plans for four snorkel trails that she and others are developing with the goal of having them in place by summer.

“Initially, this is a pilot project we are putting to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and to the Shire,” she told The Voice of the South.

“There are stacks of snorkelers here.

“This is where young kids learn how to snorkel, because it’s our aquarium.

“It’s where the swimming classes are held every year and where children and families come because it’s safe and protected by the ring of rocks.” 

Fish that snorkelers can view at the pool include Buffalo bream, the Western blue devil, Saori’s sea star, and the ever-popular Gloomy octopus.

“There’s people now visiting all year round, internationals, WA people, Australia-wide,” Ms Duxbury said.

“It’s on the map as one of the world’s best beaches.”

She said she fully supported the year-round fishing ban as imposed by the State.

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