What is the link between lobster, kangaroo and karri besides the fact that they are all iconic native local products that are available to consumers; they are also all managed by the state government. Historically we have over caught, cut or culled them all and only recently have we wound back our harvest rates to ensure they are sustainably managed. Such a conservation approach has the support of all Western Australians. That is up to now, when the state government went after the rock lobster industry for not catching enough of them.
Just before Christmas the state government, released that it wants to increase the quota of extraction from our fragile waters of 1700 tonnes, keeping 1350 tonnes for themselves to on sell to the highest bidder. This means around three million additional lobsters could be extracted from our waters by a single business. The Government claims such a move would support jobs, tourism and ensure lobster is slightly more affordable for the average Western Australian.
So how does kangaroo and karri tie into the equation? The governments is obviously keen to use our natural resources to grow jobs, support tourism along with making native products more affordability for the everyday consumer. If it’s good enough to lift the lobster catch from 6615 to 8000 tonnes; why not support a lift in the harvest of Kangaroo from ten fold to the maximum quota of 589,460 in-line with the State governments 2018 Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Quota Submission to the Commonwealth government. We all know that the meat is lean, healthy, clean and green and we know it is uniquely local, our roo and lobster is our native version of surf & turf, perfect to go with the Ministers tourism lobster plan.
Then there is our native hardwoods such as karri and jarrah if the logic of maximising the catch of lobster works for lobster it can also work for karri. The government next move could be to encourage the growth of the states high end cabinetry sector. The Forest Products Commission 2018 report clearly points out that the government can lift its current harvest rate of karri from 38 000 cubic meters to 59,000 of saw logs which would increase local jobs by using more local timber. Plus there is the added bonus that the average Western Australian will have access to more affordable local timber.
It appears the state government is more interested in driving up the rock lobster harvest for pure economic benefits, then why not add kangaroo and karri to their list of local products Following their logic on rock lobster; our oceans, forests and rangelands have been far too conservatively managed, which means they are ripe for driving tourism, increasing jobs and making sure the two million Western Australians can, as the Minister for Fisheries Dave Kelly tells us in his Maiden speech to Parliament, share in the pie.
Unfortunately such egalitarianism or socialism comes at the expense of the environment through pushing suitability to the limit. But as the government has pointed out the science says there is lobster, trees and roos to spare for all so why not use it.
If the government is serious in its logic to ignore the science of conservative resource management and the community’s cautious approach to harvesting our native resources they should simply increase the quota of kangaroo and karri harvest hard. This would help feed the insatiable demands of treasury, produce hundreds of new jobs and support tourism plus ensure all can share in our limited iconic flora and fauna. But why stop there; what about our dhufish, snapper, abalone, prawns, pearls or maybe the government should be simply supporting our farmers to produce sustainable beef, lamb, chicken and all the other products that we currently do without government needing to be involved in.