Lee Constable

Commercial fish operator questions state government figures

A MACKAY commercial fish operator has questioned the state government's figures on how much Mackay fisheries contribute to Queensland's market.

On Thursday, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne released figures that between 2012 and 2014 the average annual catch from the net-free zones proposed for Cairns, Mackay and the Capricorn Coast/Fitzroy River was 7.5% of the 4325 tonnes total east coast net catch in Queensland.

But Mackay Reef Fish Supplies owner David Caracciolo said the figures referred to all catches in the state, not just the species in the proposed net free zone.

He said any closure would have significant impact on supply of species provided from Mackay and Rockhampton.

"The accurate figure produced by fisheries are from Rockhampton and Mackay area is 32% of barramundi, 22% of king salmon, 27% of blue salmon, and 41% jewfish and unspecified which maybe grunter, bream and flathead," Mr Caracciolo said.

"Ask any primary producer to take those percentages out of the production and see what they say."

Mackay's commercial operators have joined resources to oppose the planned net-free zone, saying it will end the industry in Mackay.

Mr Caracciolo said the whole argument for a net-free zone was flawed.

"The most unbelievable part of all this there is no need for this at all. There is no problem with the resource and there is scientific data saying the fisheries are in decline," he said.

"We also see that they have used the tourism industry which we all know is pie in the sky.

"All you need to do is look at Hinchinbrook Passage, Pumerstone Passage same claims were made there and we don't see them places filled with tourists flocking to go fishing."

Minister Byrne said the department was talking to commercial operators in the affected areas for feedback.

This was the first announcement about proposed net-free zones since taking office in January.

Proposals

Proposed net-free zones in Queensland

 St Helens to Cape Hillsborough

 

 near Cairns

 Capricornia Coast

Do you agree with the net-free zones?

This poll ended on 19 April 2015.

Current Results

Yes

58%

No

41%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


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