OVERRULED: Amateur fishing activities have been given undue preference over the seafood industry, a Gympie commercial fishing operator has claimed.
OVERRULED: Amateur fishing activities have been given undue preference over the seafood industry, a Gympie commercial fishing operator has claimed. Ashley Matthews

Tin Can Bay fishing pioneer slams 'bad regulations'

GYMPIE region fishing pioneer Vern Lee has joined a chorus of concern among commercial fishing operators about planned Queensland Government changes to management of the state's fish resource.

Mr Lee said the rules appeared to have been created without input from the real world and unduly favoured the amateur sector.

"The fisheries managers have been so smart playing with their fancy computer data set-up, they put a 20-tonne quota on black jewfish on May 13. But 100 per cent of the quota was already caught a few weeks later and fisheries were concerned about the quantity found on board vessels with crews that had not been advised of this," he said.

In contrast, he said, anglers would still be allowed to catch one fish a day, at about 10g a fish, which meant 50,000 anglers could catch 500 tonnes in one day.

He said there could not be a shortage of black jewfish if the quota was caught in only a couple of weeks and the season was now closed to professional fishing until next year.

Mr Lee said "bad regulations" would kill off professional fishermen who were "trying to operate and make a living to provide to the general public".

This created undue pressure on fish processing works, like his, Lee Fishing Co at Tin Can Bay.

He said the government seemed intent on forcing the non-angling public to buy and eat only imported seafood.

"Recreational fishing is taking many more fish than the professionals," he said.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said a million Queenslanders enjoyed fishing and an increasing number of tourists were helping support a major sustainable amateur fishing industry. Preserving this was one aim of the introduction of quotas and net free zones.

Gympie Times


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