MP accused of not having a plan to grow rec fishing industry
A LOCAL fishing representative is concerned Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen "doesn't have a plan" to grow the recreational fishing industry, which is one of the Fraser Coast's largest.
Fraser Coast Fishing Alliance president Scott Mitchell has been campaigning for months for amendments to zones in the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park, which he said had fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Mitchell said the industry was vital to the Fraser Coast with recreational fishing generating visitor expenditure of about $39 million.
Fraser Coast Opportunities aims to increase the value of the fishing industry in the area to $107 million by 2020.
Mr Mitchell claims no election candidate or the sitting local member had outlined their plan for the future.
"Ted Sorensen does not appear to acknowledge the value of recreational fishing to the Fraser Coast," Mr Mitchell said. "He clearly does not have a plan."
But Mr Sorensen said the LNP Government had undertaken a wide-ranging, independent review of fisheries management in Queensland.
"The LNP has delivered its 2012 election commitment - completing the $9 million buyback of east coast inshore net fishing licences," Mr Sorensen said.
He also cited two new reefs planned for Hervey Bay as a benefit to local fishermen.
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"The economy of the region needs to be kick-started now with the assistance of sustainable recreational and sports fishing," he said.
Independent Jannean Dean said she supported the recreational fishing industry but "would release a more detailed report when time permits."
"Every time an angler goes out on the Urangan Pier there is $31 in economic value contributed to our local region," she said.
Labor candidate Tony Gubbins supported the activity and said as the elected member he would protect "their right to fish".
PUP's Lyn Pearsall said she was happy to meet with fishing alliance members to understand their concerns.
Hervey Bay Family First Party's Axel Beard said he would be looking at a review of the commercial fishing licenses in the region in an effort to protect fish stocks.
"The fish diversity in this region exceeds even the great Barrier Reef," he said
"I'm not saying don't fish. It has to be done with the views of the future."
Greens' candidate Kristen Lyons said recreational fishers were well informed on issues relating to fish population decline and water pollution.
"We recognise the recreational fishing community have really important local knowledge," Ms Lyons said.