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Commercial fishers object to stricter laws around reef

NETTING: Cr Frank Pardon wants commercial takes on Noosa North Shore banned.
NETTING: Cr Frank Pardon wants commercial takes on Noosa North Shore banned. Brett Wortman

COMMERCIAL fishermen from the Fraser Coast could suffer financially from the Australian Government's plans to keep the Great Barrier Reef from becoming endangered, according to an industry spokeswoman.

The UNESCO World Heritage committee yesterday confirmed the Great Barrier Reef was not in danger, after assessing the current reef preservation and repair programs orchestrated by the Federal Government.

"Some fishing impacts such as illegal fishing" were listed by the Government as one major challenge faced by the Great Barrier Reef in the long-term sustainability plan, assessed by UNESCO.

The Government has a year to show UNESCO its reef rescue plan is working, and until 2019 to show the reef is no longer declining in health, or else the reef will be declared "in danger."

Part of this plan will be stricter commercial and recreational fishing laws on the Great Barrier Reef, including establishing new net-free zones, allocating up to $10 million to buy back fishing licences, and enhancing compliance with zoning plans and other regulations through improved enforcement and technologies.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association president Karen Collard said if these laws were put in place, they would have a significant impact on commercial fishers.

Ms Collard said the fishing laws already in place in Fraser Coast and Queensland waters had done enough to minimise the impact of local fishing on the reef.

"There's no reason why commercial fishing laws need to become stricter, more than 30 per cent is already protected," she said.

"The report states that the major impacts are related to climate change, poor water quality, coastal developments and illegal fishing, which unless you have someone out there catching them, these suggested new laws wouldn't do anything for that."

Fraser Coast fishers must comply with the Queensland Fisheries Legislations and are not allowed to fish at all in certain areas of the coast.

Topics:  fishing, great barrier reef, unesco




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