Min­is­ter seeks more feed­back from fishos

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS DOUGLAS SHIRE BUDGET 2017 -

FISH­ERIES Min­is­ter Bill Byrne has talked up the suc­cess of net-free zones but stopped short of promis­ing new ones.

Mr Byrne made the com­ments at Yorkeys Knob, where he launched a dis­cus­sion pa­per to in­form how the State Gov­ern­ment can shore up the strug­gling char­ter fish­ing in­dus­try’s fu­ture.

He said the new Queens­land Sus­tain­able Fish­eries Strat­egy, which out­lines fish­eries man­age­ment for the com­ing decade, would largely al­le­vi­ate prob­lems that made the zon­ing nec­es­sary.

“Net-free zones have been very suc­cess­ful but they are not a ter­ri­bly so­phis­ti­cated mech­a­nism,” he said.

“What we en­deav­our to do is make sure we have a pol­icy set­ting that means those sorts of is­sues are less nec­es­sary.”

Mr Byrne said a po­lit­i­cal irony sur­rounded the no-net reg­u­la­tions of wa­ter­ways in Cairns, Mackay and Rock­hamp­ton, which com­mer­cial fish­ers widely re­jected as an at­tack on their liveli­hoods.

“For 2½ years I’ve been belted in­side-out by the Lib­eral Na­tional Party about net-free zones,” he said.

“They’re vac­il­lat­ing. I’ve had a few Lib­eral Na­tional back­benchers talk to me pri­vately about want­ing net-free zones for their ar­eas.”

Char­ter op­er­a­tor Kim An­der­sen wel­comed the chance to con­trib­ute to the gov­ern­ment’s ac­tion plan

He was pos­i­tive about the fu­ture but said the in­dus­try had been strug­gling since the early-2000s.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the green zones from the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park, I know that chopped out 68 per cent of my day-to-day op­er­at­ing area and ba­si­cally re­sulted in me leav­ing the in­dus­try here and re­lo­cat­ing up to Weipa to run in the Gulf,” he said.

“I had two ves­sels op­er­at­ing out of here and it ba­si­cally made it eco­nom­i­cally un­vi­able for us to op­er­ate.”

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Bill Byrne launch­ing the Char­ter Fish­ing Ac­tion Plan, with Cairns char­ter fish­ing op­er­a­tor Kim An­der­sen

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