New voice for West Coast fishermen

West Coast fishermen may get a louder "voice".

The state's peak professional fishermen's body has revamped itself with new leadership and a fisherman hopes the change will give greater representation to the region's fishers.

The first meeting of the new Marine Fishers Association (MFA) was hosted in Adelaide after the association had fallen apart and executive members resigned.

Executive officer Nathan Bicknell retained his role while an election was called for nominations to form a new executive committee.

The selected committee's five members includes Hugh Bailey, of Coffin Bay, and Michael Elton, of Port Lincoln, while Graham Harrafield, of Lucky Bay, was appointed chairman.

A day after the meeting Mr Bicknell resigned from his role, citing in a letter alleged unacceptable behaviour and a meeting which only served to "entrench factional views and set back the governance of the association 12 years".

Association member Jeff Schmucker was at the meeting and said the the group had fallen apart from the pressure of reforms facing the industry.

Mr Schmucker, who is also president of the West Coast Professional Fishers Association (WCPFA), said the new start was hoped to give West Coast fishers new impetus.

He said the WCPFA had a proposal that was an alternative to Primary Industries and Regions South Australia's suggestion for an individual transferable quota (ITQ).

That proposal, WCPFA secretary Darren Richardson said, was for a transfer of days and not kilograms as the Marine Scalefish Fishery was dealing with a lower-value product than other fisheries.

Mr Schmucker said: "We are right in the middle of a reform and West Coast guys have worked diligently with our proposal, but had a hand in our face many times over the last three years with putting a proposal forward, which had been manufactured by a well-oiled association on the West Coast.

"The change will free up the voice of the WCPFA. Our proposal was met with trepidation by the MFA, but well accepted by the Commercial Marine Scale Fish Reform Advisory Committee which was put in place to take all information on board."

He says the proposal has a "much better chance to be heard and delivered" under new leadership.

He fears the ITQ plan will adversely affect the West Coast's fishers.