Marine businesses call for urgent fishery dispensations

Don Jones Marine Queensland
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The Queensland Seafood Industry Association and Marine Queensland today called on Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin for dispensations for water based businesses with the impending fisheries closure for Snapper, Pearl Perch and Teraglin.

'Trading conditions as a result of the adverse weather have been significantly limited in the last three months' said Don Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Marine Queensland.

'Charter Fishing operators have reported as few as eight (8) days on the water in the last three months compared to an average of forty-two (42) days the same time last year.'

'The unique weather conditions on top of the prevailing economic conditions have had a compounding effect which is now placing the viability of these businesses in serious question, particularly if the proposed closure proceeds next week.'

'We are calling on the Minister to provide a dispensation for the proposed closure to lift the prohibition on Pearl Perch and Teraglin as neither of these species is under threat. We have no control over the weather; however this closure is entirely at the discretion of the Minister.'

'It makes complete sense to be supporting Queensland businesses after the devastating floods and cyclones. Supporting local businesses and jobs is critical in these challenging times.'

'Visitors to Queensland are being encouraged yet it is illogical that businesses that provide marine based tourism experiences and fresh local seafood are being prevented from operating.'

The floods have impacted on the commercial fishing industry preventing fishing activities, destroying unloading and storage facilities and compromising seafood supplies to the community. QSIA President Michael Gardner has asked Minister Mulherin to give industry a break and abolish the northern section of the closure to allow commercial fishers to return to work as soon as conditions allow.

'Industry has demonstrated its flexibility and commitment in many ways during the crisis including the voluntary closure in Moreton Bay. At the peak of the flood they provided voluntary assistance to those in need sometimes putting their vessels and their own lives at risk in the process. Removal of the northern closure in light of the floods would be a very meaningful gesture to those impacted and pose no risk to the snapper plan' Michael Gardner said.