A LEGAL decision in Brisbane has dealt a blow to commercial fishers fighting for compensation for dredging in Gladstone Harbour.
A case against Gladstone Ports Corporation by a group of business owners in the commercial fishing industry was dismissed in the Brisbane Planning and Environment Court yesterday.
About 60 claimants from the industry, led by commercial fisher Trevor Falzon, were represented by Shine Lawyers, who argued the LNG dredging project in Gladstone Harbour had caused fish disease in the past year and damaged livelihoods within the industry.
Judge David Searle struck out the application and ordered the claimants pay some costs. Those costs have not been determined yet.
Outside court Rebecca Jancauskas, from Shine Lawyers, said the main purpose of the legal action was to get the State Government and GPC to take negotiations seriously.
After the decision, a disappointed Mr Falzon reiterated his belief the dredging project had caused fish disease.
"My business, which is worth over $1 million, has gone down the gurgler," he said.
The judge's decision was based on his conclusion regarding the meaning of the term "existing commercial fishing operators". He rejected the interpretation of that term used by Shine Lawyers.
Shine lawyer Rebecca Jancauskas said after the decision her team could "take heart" in the judge's decision to dismiss the application based on that definition, rather than rejecting the notion of compensation.