Fishing cost changes are explained

COMMERCIAL fishermen met a Fisheries Department official last night to discuss the recent proposals to increase licensing and fee arrangements.

Both parties said the meeting was productive although commercial fishermen were still concerned that the huge jump in costs resulting from the proposals would push more fishermen out of the industry.

More than 25 commercial fishermen attended the meeting at the Country Plaza and heard an explanation of the proposed changes by Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries fisheries policy and sustainability general manager Col Bishop.

Mr Bishop said the proposed changes aimed to streamline and simplify fisheries licensing and fee arrangements.

Coral reef fisherman and Gladstone line delegate Ray Gordon said the discussion was heated at times and many fishermen saw the proposals as a money grab.

Mr Gordon said the proposals on top of imposed green zones, quota and fishing time reductions simply were not fair on the Queensland commercial fishermen.

He said the explanation of the proposals was helpful and the meeting provided an opportunity for fishermen to voice their concerns.

It also allowed the fishermen to suggest their proposal for licensing and fee arrangements.

Their proposal was for the overall changes to result in a tripling of costs to remain constant over the next few years.

Mr Gordon said this would be preferable and cited one fisherman who would find it easier than facing a jump from about $2500 to $35,000 with the proposed changes.

Mr Bishop said all the feedback from the meeting would be considered before the next meeting in about a month.

He said all present at the meeting were keen to help develop a licensing and fee package which would suit the needs of fishermen and the government.

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