‘More detailed and extensive’ data sought in class action

A CLASS action is seeking "more detailed and more ­extensive" data about fish catches from the Queensland department of Agriculture and Fisheries as part of evidence in a lawsuit against another ­government owned entity.

The action of more than 150 fishermen and associated ­businesses against Gladstone Ports Corporation is expected to go to trial in 2021 and initially take 11 weeks.

More than 150 seafood ­industry members from Queensland and New South Wales - from Bowen to ­Sydney - are seeking $100 million-$150 million from GPC, saying works carried out by the government-owned ­corporation in the Gladstone area about 2010 negatively ­impacted the water quality, fish health and fish numbers, which impacted the industry members' businesses.

Lawyers for the fishers ­yesterday made an application to the court to pursue actions to collect "more detailed and more extensive" fish catches data from the Queensland ­Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Michael May, from Clyde and Co - the firm representing the plaintiffs - said the ­application, filed on January 17, 2020, was not controversial.

"It seeks various data ­collected by the department as to commercial fishing ­catches," Mr May told the Supreme Court in Rockhampton yesterday.

"The data that is being sought is more detailed and more extensive than it has been to date."

He said it was proposed ­letters or emails would be sent to relevant people to obtain the data, and various newspaper advertisements would be used to give notice to commercial fishers that certain data would be released by DAF under court order for use in the class action.

Mr May said while the ­application was not controversial, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries had raised concerns about the breadth of the notice.

Justice Graeme Crow approved the application and any objections will be raised at a mention of the case in late February or early March.