Rec fishers applaud Queensland net-free zones

RECREATIONAL fishers and associated groups have congratulated the Queensland State Labor government on progressing an election promise to declare three new commercial Net Free Zones along the east coast of Queensland.

A spokesperson from the Nets Out Qld Campaign said: “The policy initiative demonstrated a show of good faith to recreational fishers and associated coastal community businesses reliant on the economic benefits of recreational fishing and tourism.”

“The creation of these new Net Free Zones close to major population and tourist centres was consistent with precedents already set in states such as NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“Every industry must constantly be proactive in reforming practices and business models to ensure ongoing social, environmental and economic viability in line with community expectations. The government’s Sustainable Fishing Policy is a widely welcomed step on this journey of transformation.”

Involved recreational fishing groups support well managed commercial gill net fisheries, with the current barramundi netting industry in the Northern Territory providing a good example of a well- structured and managed commercial netting business model that is operating successfully.

“This Policy initiative of the Palaszczuk Government recognises the huge economic and social benefits derived from recreational fishing and the broader connection with the State’s unique marine environment,” the spokesperson said.

“The policy also recognises the State’s role in the Reef 2050 Plan, an essential plan to ensure the health and biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef including species which interact between inshore and offshore waters. It delivers a way forward to meet government obligations to the environment and the expectations of both recreational fishers and the community.”

The $10,000,000 compensation package announced by the Minister to be offered to identified commercial netters who have fished at least one day during the past three years in one or more of the new Net Free Areas, looks to be more than adequate when compared to similar packages available in other industries undergoing organisational change and should help kick-start future opportunities for genuinely impacted commercial netters,” the spokesperson said.

These three Net Free Zones are great news for current and future Queenslanders and they meet national and international obligations and ALL political parties are strongly urged to support the passage of this legislation through parliament.

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