LNP’s Gippsland Lakes voluntary buyback plan a waste of money: Futurefish

Futurefish Foundation Chairman, Michael Buxton, who says “the $2 million committed to the voluntary buyback (by the LNP if re-elected) may as well be poured down the drain”.

FUTUREFISH Foundation has branded the Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh’s plan to spend $2 million on a voluntary buyback of commercial netting licences in the Gippsland Lakes if the LNP is elected later this month a waste of money and a misrepresentation of what recreational anglers are calling for.

The associated media release contains what Futurefish is a very misleading statement in that “a voluntary buyback has been called for by both commercial and recreational fishing sectors”. The Futurefish Foundation say they have has asked many recreational fishing organisations and cannot find a single one that has called for a voluntary buyback. They say the whole recreational fishing sector is calling for a compulsory, not voluntary buyback. 

An enquiry to VRFISH, the State Peak Body for recreational fishing resulted in CEO Michael Burgess saying “In all our statements and policy correspondence we have said we want a compulsory buyback of all 10 licence holders. I am not aware of any other recreational fishers or group who have come out advocating for a voluntary buyout”.

When asked if he knew anyone from the recreational sector calling for a voluntary buyback, Chairman of VRFISH Rob Loats replied “I have no idea what so ever. It’s been made abundantly clear the VRFish policy position is a compulsory buy out”.

Futurefish Foundation Chairman, Michael Buxton says “the $2 million committed to the voluntary buyback may as well be poured down the drain. It will only fund the non-active netters that we all know want out, and leave the rest of the netters to operate with no bag limits or quotas”.

“A voluntary buyback will only result in fewer netters taking the same amount of unlimited fish unless the Liberal Nationals’ amend their policy to include a catch cap limiting the remaining netters in the system to a much less quota”. Mr Buxton concluded “and even if they amend their policy, it is certainly not aligned with what the recreational fishing sector is asking for; it’s a complete waste of money”.

For a full list of the Futurefish Foundations list of ideas for political parties, click HERE

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