FISHING industry, business and political leaders joined forces with marine conservation interests yesterday to prepare strategies for dealing with the upcoming Garrett review of Cooloola Coast fishing rights.
The Federal Environment Department review, which will report to Minister Peter Garrett, has sparked alarm throughout the Gympie Region business community, but particularly at Tin Can Bay and among fishing interests.
While Mr Garrett has promised “a fair dinkum process” which will take into account a need to minimise industry impacts, recreational and commercial fishing interests are alarmed at some of the advice they expect Mr Garrett to receive.
They say Mr Garrett has previously expressed enthusiasm for fishing closures and his advisers include some who have described their industries' activities as “plundering the environment.”
They are also concerned that they will have no say at all after the upcoming federal election, with additional uncertainty about whether Mr Garrett would necessarily remain Environment Minister in a new Labor Government.
Fishers have warned that the review affects commercial, recreational and charter fishing interests and all associated tourist operations, as well as boat builders and retailers and providers of professional services throughout the Gympie Region.