'Botched' boat devices slammed as fishing reform debate rages
THE State Opposition has slammed the "botched rollout" of new boat monitoring devices as the State Government continues to press for reforms to the state's fishing industries.
The debate comes just days after the proposals were revealed in Maryborough last week.
They would result in catch quotas for commercial and recreational fishers all over Queensland.
Vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on Queensland commercial fishing and charter boats became mandatory on January 1 as per recommendations in the government's Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.
Shadow fisheries minister Tony Perrett said serious questions need to be asked of the State Government.
But fishers have voiced concerns of delayed rollouts and poor operation of the devices.
Other concerns raised involve the purchase and installation costs, which Mr Perrett claimed could leave fishers out of pocket by more than $400.
"Fishers are rightfully concerned about (the only) authorised supplier and there are major fears their boats may not be able to take to the water," Mr Perrett said.
"For Labor to be tying up our fishers with more red and green tape while it can't even properly roll out its own laws - all during peak seafood season - speaks volumes for the contempt they have for our seafood industry."
But a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman explained fishers had the opportunity to choose from a number of units and were not forced to use any particular one.
The spokesman said waiting times could vary depending on when the unit was ordered, the availability of installers and access to vessels.
"To assist industry in covering the purchase and installation costs of vessel tracking units, the Queensland Government has partnered with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to make available up to $3million in rebates," the spokesman said.
"These rebates are designed so that the majority of fishers should not be out of pocket for the unit purchase or installation costs.
"Fishers can still go fishing without an operating unit as long as they can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to obtain units."