CHEVRON Australia has committed to establishing a formal process to compensate commercial fishers affected by its Wheatstone LNG project near Onslow.The company has agreed to work with the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council and the Department of Fisheries to consider claims for compensation through a formal committee.Fishers who claim their commercial operations have been affected by the project will be able to apply to the committee for compensation. It will then provide recommendations to Chevron.Any agreement to pay compensation would become a direct agreement between Chevron and the fishers.The agreement follows a report from the Fisheries Working Group, established by Chevron to investigate the impacts of the Wheatstone project. It found dredging for the project could affect coral spawning and operations for commercial fishers such as those involved in the Onslow prawn trawl fishery.But the significant fly-in, fly-out workforce required for both the construction and operation of Wheatstone was expected to be one of the key impediments to the local commercial fishing industry.Fishers claimed increased charter boats transporting workers were likely to result in reduced fish stocks, compounded by increased recreational fishing at popular spots Back Beach and 4 Mile Creek.In order to mitigate the risk of increased recreational fishing, Chevron has said it will encourage workers to stay at the workforce accommodation village, which is 20 kilometres away from Onslow.The plan to establish a formal process for compensation claims is out for public comment until the end of November but has already received support from the state government.Minister for Fisheries Norman Moore said it was a “win-win” for the project and the fishers.“It’s important a mechanism is established ... (this) has benefits for all parties involved and it is pleasing to see the level of cooperation between the stakeholders,” Mr Moore said.
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