Coastline closure threatens locals
A FEDERAL Government-proposed 13,000 square kilometre no-go zone fishing off the Fraser Coast proved an issue of national significance, a public meeting in Gympie.
More than 250 people at Saturday night’s meeting learned of the proposed coastline closure 200 nautical miles out to sea started near Double Island Point in the south and continued to north of Waddy Point on Fraser Island.
The plan would exclude both professional and amateur fishermen from the area along with other forms of marine activity.
Those at the meeting heard of major economic impacts of previous closures that had resulted in multi-million dollar viable businesses ending in bankruptcy, the destruction of marriages and the loss of tradespeople and families from areas, along with major impacts on investments and loss of property value.
The meeting was addressed by chief executive of Marine Queensland Bob Jones who also chaired the evening, Queensland senators Brett Mason and Ron Boswell and former professional fisherman and marine business owner from Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion.
Also speaking was Law Essentials partner Michael Garrahy whose business specialises in working with the professional fishing section and seafood industry.
Mr Garrahy demonstrated the losses associated with previous closures and the impact of them on business, introducing two people who had gone through the closures in Gladstone and the loss of their businesses.
Tin Can Bay Chamber of Commerce president Peter Todd spoke of the impact that a lock-out would have on the Cooloola Coast.
Rainbow Beach Commerce and Tourism president Scott Elms also spoke of the region’s concern and urged all present to take part in “Convoy Against Closure” from Gympie to Clontarf boat ramp in Brisbane on Sunday, August 1.
A map was revealed – endorsed by Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett showing a number of closures proposed across the Australian coastline, which will lock everyone out of the country’s most viable crayfish, prawn and fishing areas.
The speakers said so far there had been no economic or social consultation in the process and there was no sound scientific basis to the proposed closed areas.
Those at the meeting were urged to contact politicians and voice their concerns and were told the issue was much bigger than a Gympie concern, but one that affected people right across Australia.