Stiff opposition from LNP, seafood industry on reforms
FISHING reforms intended to safeguard the state's commercial and recreational sectors have drawn criticism from Queensland's leading seafood group and the State Opposition.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner, who revealed the controversial plans during a visit to Maryborough in January, said the regulations were designed to protect fish stocks for species like scallops, snapper and pearl perch that were under the nationally recommended biomass level.
But the State Opposition claims the new rules are a "massive slap in the face" for the fishing industry and recreational fishers.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said the State Government's regulations were not based in science, which was concerning to fishermen attempting to source mud crabs.
"We've got mud crabs... that aren't apparently endangered, but yet the regulations have reduced the amounts from 10 to 8," Ms Frecklington said.
"Local fishermen... they're really disappointed with Annastacia Palaszczuk being so out of touch with regional Queensland and the fishing industry.
"We need to be supporting the fishing industry in Queensland otherwise we'll end up eating fish from overseas, we don't want that."
Under the reforms, boat limits have been set at twice the possession limit for black market species, including mud crab, prawns, snapper, black jewfish, barramundi, shark, Spanish mackerel, sea cucumber and tropical rock lobster.
Commercial fishers will be sent new catch limits and reporting requirements in due time.
Mr Furner said the changes would mean residents could continue to have fish on the table and they would "protect our marine ecosystem and the Great Barrier Reef".
Keith Harris, the president of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) said key regional bodies and the QSIA had returned a verdict of "no confidence" in the current reform process.
"Multi-generational fishing families are going to torn apart by the political agenda of this government," Mr Harris said yesterday.
"We refuse to be steamrolled by totally blatant attempts to destroy our sustainable fisheries."
The QSIA has demanded a halt and review of the reform process and a renewal of senior staff in Queensland Fisheries.
Queensland Seafood Marketers Association (QSMA) president Marshall Betzel said the changes were just part of the overall strategic reforms that industry has been waiting for.
"We hope these reforms will help provide long term jobs growth in the industry as well was provide a better degree of certainty of supply for future generations of seafood consumers," Mr Betzel said.