GRAVE CONCERNS: Burrum Heads fisherman Tony Simpson's commercial fishing business could be under threat with talks of regulation changes in the industry.
GRAVE CONCERNS: Burrum Heads fisherman Tony Simpson's commercial fishing business could be under threat with talks of regulation changes in the industry. Cody Fox

FISHING FEARS: Jobs at risk as reforms loom

TONY Simpson is the fourth generation of his family to make a living fishing in Fraser Coast waters.

Now, he fears he might be the last.

As the clock winds down on the opportunity for the fishing community to have their say on the State Government's proposed legislation amendments, Mr Simpson says his job hangs in the balance.

The public has until July 19 to make a submission in response to the discussion paper.

The proposed changes to crab, trawl and inshore fishing quotas have caused grave concerns for the Fraser Coast commercial fishing industry.

Mr Simpson, who lives in Burrum Heads, said if current proposals were adopted, he would not get enough quota to survive on and in order to increase quota, it would be necessary to pay.

"You've basically got to buy your job back," he said.

With tight profit margins, that would mean it wouldn't be sustainable for him to continue working in the industry.

His family has been fishing in Fraser Coast waters for more than 100 years and his brother is part of the industry too, meaning Mr Simpson's whole family will be impacted by the changes.

He has made submissions, written letters and tried to explain what the amendments would mean for his business.

But after 42 years of commercial fishing, Mr Simpson fears for his future.

"It's hard if you're paying off houses, which we still are," he said. "Your job might be coming to an end and it's a worry.

"I'm getting towards 60-years-old, what can you do? It's hard to find work.

"I've lost a lot of sleep."

Mr Simpson rejected claims intervention was needed to keep fishing sustainable, and said it was in the industry's interest to ensure fish stocks remained plentiful.

But Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the proposed changes were the result of a comprehensive consultation process over the past two years as part of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

"The changes focus on long-term sustainability and profitability, urgent actions to support key species, standardising fishing rules, supporting compliance and reducing red-tape," Mr Furner said.

"We are determined to build a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren and these regulations are an important part of doing that. "As at today, we have received close to 500 responses via our online survey, with the commercial, recreational, charter boat, Indigenous, seafood marketing, conservation sectors and the general public all making submissions."

Mr Furner said the feedback would guide changes to the Fisheries Regulation 2008 later this year.

Proposed new fishing regulations

THE fishing community has until July 19 to have its say on the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Regulation 2008.

There are several key changes proposed, including splitting fisheries into regions, establishing a sustainable catch limit for crab, snapper and pearl perch and allocating quota and effort units to individuals.

The amendments would also adjust size limits for pearl perch and king threadfin.

A one month seasonal closure for snapper and pearl perch would be introduced and the mud crab in-possession limit would be reduced from 10 to 7.

To have your say, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au.
 



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