Queensland's Newman Government has agreed to buy back more commercial licences following the conclusion of the latest round of offers in the East Coast Inshore Net Fishery.
Barramundi, main species of net catch
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said the second round of offers, which closed on March 28, attracted 74 submissions.
'The Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA) has assessed the submissions and I have agreed to the buyback of 13 licences with 42 symbols,' Mr McVeigh said.
'This brings the total number of licences purchased through the net buyback to 35, including 113 symbols.'
A licence grants authority to fish. Symbols on the licence define the fisheries in which the licence can be used and the type of fishing that can be done. For example, net, crab, trawl.
Mr McVeigh said the offers primarily focused on N1 and N2 licences for net fishing, however some of the licence packages offered also included symbols for crab, line and trawl fishing.
'Our aim is to reduce the total net fishing effort along the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery, and we have applied stringent criteria to achieve this.
'In the round just complete, to reduce the possibility of a transfer of fishing effort between fisheries, all applicants were required to offer a Commercial Fishing Boat Licence with their N1 or N2 fishery symbol.'
The Minister said the buyback had so far proven successful, with commercial fishers clearly indicating their interest in the opportunity.
'QRAA will now contact all applicants to advise on progress acceptance of the offers.'
Mr McVeigh said opportunities to further extend the program were being considered, with funding still available out of the $9 million committed to the program.
'Since commencing the buyback program in November last year, we’ve spent $2.2 million buying licences.
'We will now be looking at the next phase of the program with the Net Buyback Stakeholder Group to discuss eligibility criteria to potentially invite more offers.'
For further information, visit www.qraa.qld.gov.au or call QRAA on freecall 1800 623 946