Seafood chief calls on candidates to back commercial fishers
THE Australian Ocean King Prawn Company has weighed in on the political debate surrounding the future of commercial fishing in the Great Sandy Strait.
Company chief Stephen Murphy said his vessels fished a small proportion of the Northern section of the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park (GSSMP) for scallops and political support was important for the industry
"The commercial fishing industry is of vital importance … it supports hundreds of jobs and families directly and indirectly thousands more through the use of tradespeople and supplying hospitality and tourism sectors with premium local seafood," he said.
"We support all the netters and crabbers that do regularly fish in the GSSMP," Mr Murphy said.
"The whole industry operates sustainably to provide seafood to the wider community. There are no concerns of overfishing with any of the species that we target."
Mr Murphy pointed out there were still concerns regarding scallop numbers in Gladstone Harbour.
"It is my understanding that there are no sustainability concerns with any of the species that are caught in the Great Sandy Straits," he said.
Independent candidate for Hervey Bay Stuart Taylor said he didn't support recreational or commercial fishers more than thee other but looked for an agreement which benefited both sides.
Hervey Bay LNP candidate Steve Coleman said he understood the value of the commercial and recreation fishing to the region, saying "lets just sit around the table and work it all out so everyone has a fair crack."
One Nation candidate Damian Huxham said it was an issue he wanted to know more about before
Mr Murphy said recreational fishers needed to accept that commercial fishers were permitted to catch fish in the regulated manner and vice versa.
"Recreational fishers, Greens and NGOs need to recognise that commercial fishing is an acceptable use of the GSSMP," he said.
Recreational fishers in the region have also reacted to the candidate debate.