Survey debunks “local seafood shortage” myth

FINDINGS from a recently completed survey of the availability of fresh fish through 44 different outlets across Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast have raised serious questions about claims that people across Queensland would lose access to fresh fish if proposed Net Free Areas went ahead.

Nathan Johnston, a spokesperson for Nets Out Queensland Campaign said: “We knew that the claims of fish disappearing from the shelf were dubious, but even we were a bit surprised at the results.”

“Of the 18 supermarkets, clubs, pubs and taverns surveyed, no fresh fish product was offered for sale that was identified as being sourced from the proposed new Net Free Area”.

“Of the 14 fish and chip stores surveyed, there was only one instance of fish being for sale identified as being sourced from the proposed Net Free Area.”

“Of the 10 restaurants surveyed, only two had fresh fish product offered for sale potentially being sourced from the proposed Net Free Area,” Johnston said.

“If a customer wanted to source fresh fish from the local areas it appears the retail specialist seafood outlets are the place to go, with the two establishments surveyed both offering fish sourced from the proposed Net Free Area at the time of survey, but they also offered a range of fish species for sale sourced from areas outside the proposed new Net Free Areas.”

Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast are directly adjacent to the largest of the three proposed Net Free Areas. It is also the area that produces 250 of 319 tonne of the fish netted from the three areas combined.

“With Rockhampton and Capricorn coast being directly adjacent to the most productive of the three net free areas, we were expecting to see a lot more local product being offered for sale than was actually the case.”

The reality was that only one in nine instances of fish being offered for sale potentially came from the proposed net free area,” said Johnston.

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