Minister Hunt warns of fish ban
“TIN Can Bay fishers and the town itself are facing their own Traveston dam – they’re facing obliteration,” federal Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in Gympie this week.
Mr Hunt was speaking after meeting with amateur and professional fishing identities at Tin Can Bay on Tuesday afternoon.
He was commenting on Federal Government plans to review fishing uses of a large area of ocean off the Cooloola and Fraser Island coastline, with possible new restrictions or even closures.
The area under review, from Double Island Point to the top of Fraser Island and well past the continental shelf, is the source of much of the seafood of all kinds caught by fishers from Mooloolaba to Bundaberg.
While Mr Garrett has promised a “fair dinkum process” of genuine consultation with fishing and tourism industry representatives, as well as seeking scientific and conservation advice, fishers say they fear a fishing ban may be the end result.
And they say their experience of Queensland Government reviews of their industry lends credibility to their concerns.
Mr Hunt agrees.
“The Fraser Island ‘area for further assessment’, if implemented in full, would mean the end of commercial fishing for Tin Can Bay and the end of recreational fishing probably,” he told The Gympie Times.
“If it is a full green zone. That’s the end of commercial, charter and recreational fishing,” he said, adding that this would be a disaster not only for the Cooloola Coast economy in general, but for many businesses throughout the Gympie region supplying fishers with everything from boats and tackle to fuel, groceries, accommodation and advice.
“Our view is that fishing stocks are strong. The fishery has been well managed, but there’s an ideological view that fishing is bad,” he said.