Scallop jobs along the Fraser Coast could feel the industry pains as the government seeks to protect the sustainability of scallops.
Scallop jobs along the Fraser Coast could feel the industry pains as the government seeks to protect the sustainability of scallops. Alistair Brightman

Fraser Coast to feel pinch of scallop industry changes

SCALLOP processing jobs in the Fraser Coast region could be under threat after the State Government announced radical management changes to "protect the sustainability of scallops."

Hervey Bay itself could see changes in the processing on available scallop, along with some trawlers affected as the government meets with commercial operators to outline the changes to the enterprise.

Chief Executive Officer for Queensland Seafood Industry Association Eric Perez said the government would be conducting conversations with operations in Tin Can Bay, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg to see what issues could be addressed.

"We want to work with the science community and government to make sure the science tells us what the potential indicators of the problem are," he said.

"It will vary from trawler to trawler, but there will be impacts along the way."

Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne said the latest scientific advice was that stocks had fallen to just 6% of original biomass, with catch rates from January 2015 until April 2016 being their lowest in 39 years.

"Fishing those stocks beyond the point of no return is not in the interests of Queenslanders and not in the long-term interests of our commercial fishing industry or workers who process scallops," Mr Byrne said.

"The latest data is so shocking we must take action and engage with the industry immediately about the direction the government intends to take."

The state government intends to close several scallop replenishment areas set to open next year.

But QSIA president Keith Harris said the current situation highlighted the need for the industry and government to work together.

"The public can be assured that Queensland commercial fisheries are sustainable and despite the current situation our fisheries are not in decline," he said.

QSIA treasurer Keith Reibel said the closures would have a "significant financial impact on Queensland commercial trawl fishers."



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