Fishermen fear another blow with licence fee rise

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LOCAL fishermen fear another massive blow to the industry with a proposal that annual fishing licences could increase by up to 1000 per cent.

Coral reef fisherman and Gladstone line delegate Ray Gordon is paying nearly $2000 but with the proposed increase will pay more than $14,500.

He said his increase wasn't as bad as some.

'Some of the guys are coming in with their's going up 18 times,' Mr Gordon said.

"One guy will be up for about $19,000.'

The latest news for the industry comes on the back of tumultuous times in recent years including the introduction of green zones limiting fishing areas and reductions in some fishing quotas.

Mr Gordon said the new fees could break the industry. General manager in Queensland Fisheries Col Bishop said fishermen would have to pay for each kilogram of fish they caught.

Mr Gordon said the cost would have to be passed to the consumer at some stage but the immediate effect would be on the fishermen.

He said one sixth of the fishing industry jobs could be lost locally.

Mr Bishop said it was reasonable the industry

'The Queensland Government spends $45 million a year on fisheries management,' Mr Bishop said.

'The commercial fishing sector through licensing fees currently contributes $3 million towards that amount which is equal to 1 per cent gross value product (GVP).

'Under the proposed arrangements the commercial sector will contribute $6 million per annum which equates to 2 per cent GVP. The national average is 6 per cent.'

Mr Bishop said the proposed changes were 'not set in concrete' and there would be a consultation process.

The Department of Fisheries will host a meeting on Monday, May 23 at the Country Plaza.



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