Greens’ Wide Bay candidate Jim McDonald, in Gympie this week.
Greens’ Wide Bay candidate Jim McDonald, in Gympie this week. Renee Pilcher

Farser Coast fisheries debate

DEBATE on future plans for the Fraser and Cooloola coast fishery saw two sides of the sustainability coin this week, from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association and Wide Bay Greens candidate Jim McDonald.

QSIA Head Winston Harris said potential marine park zones, resulting from a national review by the federal Environment Department, “could have a major impact on seafood production.

“The Double Island Point-Fraser Island box covers grounds that are important for trawler operators catching prawns and scallops (as well as being) a major area for spanner crabs and fish-trawling,” he said.

Mr McDonald welcomed the review announcement by Environment Minister Peter Garrett, but also backed industry concerns.

“Local fishery concerns are right to be upset by a succession of reviews because earlier approaches failed to address all the issues.

“It makes sense to ensure that fisheries are maintained at sustainable levels. Responsible elements of the fishing industry support quotas and protection of fish nurseries, so they can prosper in the future,” he said.

“Some recreational fishing groups have habitually misrepresented the Greens’ policy on fishing, alleging that we would ban fishing altogether. That is plainly untrue. Only when there is protection of the biodiversity of fish and of their environment can our grandchildren and their grandchildren participate in the joys of fishing,” he said.

Mr Harris said the industry would hold Mr Garrett to his word on minimising impacts on industry.

“The bottom line is that industry cannot afford to lose access and nor can seafood customers.”

Gympie Times


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