A big crowd gathered at a rally to save the Canal Rocks Boat Ramp last month.

Saving the Canal Rocks Boat Ramp

Recfishwest is calling on the recreational fishing community to sign an online petition to save the Canal Rocks Boat Ramp.

The future of the ramp has been a contentious issue in recent weeks, with revelations it is earmarked for closure due to safety concerns following a feasibility study commissioned by the previous Liberal State Government.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), formerly DPaW from 2013 and prior to that part of DEC from 2006 onwards, is considering closing the ramp, but their plan has met with strong opposition from water users who believe the ramp is important to the region.

Leading the chorus of disapproval is Recfishwest, the peak body for recreational fishing in WA.

It has launched the petition, which is closing in on 5000 signatures as pressure on DBCA to reconsider is ramped up.

This ramp, near Yallingup, has provided fishers access to important local fishing spots for decades, although it can be tricky in rough conditions.

However, regular users are unaware of any major incidents at the ramp and say anyone who uses it simply has to exercise common sense.

Both local and visiting fishers have expressed their concerns about the fact a closure will restrict access to a popular South-West offshore area.

A rally at the ramp last month attracted hundreds of people and Recfishwest operations manager Leyland Campbell spoke at the event.

Campbell said the peak body was disappointed not to have been consulted and that all options to keep the ramp open were not being considered.

He queried the motives for the decision.

”We will advocate for the ramp to remain open as it is actually one of the safest ramps in the region and DBCA claims about safety simply don’t add up,” he said.

“The Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions claim this ramp doesn’t meet Australian Standards (exposure to waves greater than 20cm) however, the standards they are choosing to apply are for boat ramps within marinas, not oceanic ramps.

“If the government applied this standard to all oceanic boat ramps in Western Australia then over 90 per cent of these ramps would be closed.

“This is simply not acceptable and cannot go unchallenged.

“While Recfishwest has a strong track record in advocating for fishing safety, we recognise people must take personal responsibility.

“It is not the Government’s role to protect the community from every conceivable risk, but it is the Government’s role to provide the basic community infrastructure required to support our culture and lifestyle.

“The fishing public of Western Australia accept the risks associated with operating a vessel anywhere in our state, including using discretion to assess any ramp for a safe launch and retrieve.”

Vasse MP Libby Mettam has also been critical of the decision, which threatens to impact on the local sea rescue group.

The condition of the ramp has been an issue raised in previous years, but DBCA said the feasibility study found it couldn’t justify the cost of improving the facility given the safety concerns.

Campbell said Recfishwest believed access to high-quality experiences, including fishing, was paramount to the West Australian lifestyle and the Canal Rocks ramp must be maintained.

Recfishwest has written to the Environment Minister urging him to reconsider this decision but wants the community to get behind the online petition to increase pressure on the decision makers.

To sign the petition visit https://recfishwest.org.au/news/sign-the-petition-to-save-canal-rocks-boat-ramp/ .

Caption: A big crowd gathered at a rally to save the Canal Rocks Boat Ramp last month.