Tourism fishing ban backlash from seafood industry
THE seafood industry is incensed its contribution to tourism is being ignored and wants answers to save a longstanding relationship it has had with Fraser Coast business owners.
Last month Tourism Fraser Coast released its strategic action plan - a report mapping the ambitions of its members for the next five years.
One goal listed in the report was to lobby for the removal of commercial fishing from the Great Sandy Marine Park.
But high-profile identities in the seafood business have criticised the announcement, claiming their contribution to tourism and the economy is not recognised. One to condemn the plan was Queensland Seafood Industry Association executive officer Eric Perez.
He voiced his disappointment in a written response which he circulated to government ministers, Tourism Fraser Coast board members and local councillors. Mr Perez asked on behalf of QSIA for Tourism Fraser Coast to review its strategic action plan and remove the aim of banning commercial fishing from the Great Sandy Marine Park.
Locally, Australian Ocean King Prawn Company head Stephen Murphy, who is one of Queensland's biggest operators, has also been critical. He operates six trawlers from his Hervey Bay base to supply local and overseas markets with 300-400 tonnes of prawns every year. He also provides the highly sought Hervey Bay scallops to consumers and high-end restaurants.
He called for Tourism Fraser Coast to strike the intention to ban from its list. "The commercial fishing industry is what supplies restaurants, it's one of the main reasons people come to Hervey Bay, to eat local seafood," he said. "If they wanted to ban commercial fishing in the Hervey Bay and Great Sandy Strait Region it would lock operators out of a huge chunk of scallop grounds. It's bad enough the way it is now that you go to local shops and can't buy local seafood."
Tourism Fraser Coast was given the opportunity to respond to QSIA's request but failed to offer any comment.