Minister seeks more feedback from fishos
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