Fisherman Chris Sipp says his business is suffering due to unnecessary reef closures.
Fisherman Chris Sipp says his business is suffering due to unnecessary reef closures. Kieran Moran

Fishers: Reef closures not working

LOCAL commercial fishermen are losing their livelihood due to bureaucrats, according to a local commercial line fishing operator.

Gladstone coral trout line fisherman Chris Sipp said the no-go zones during spawning are not necessary because it doesn't work.

“Local fishermen are being hit hard constantly by government bureaucracy,” Mr Sipp said.

“Cyclone Hamish destroyed the reef and cut our catches in half. Since then we have had to deal with introduced quotas which restricted fishermen again, and now we have to face constant closures with no scientific evidence to prove the closures work.”

Coral reef fin fish are currently off limits to protect the fish while spawning. The first closure started on October 5 and finishes on October 9, and the second from November 3 to 7.

Fisheries resource manager Dr Brigid Kerrigan said the closures protected fish at an important time in their life cycle. “The closures coincide with the new moon when the majority of coral reef fin fish congregate to spawn,” Dr Kerrigan said.

“Coral trout and other coral reef fin fish are more susceptible to concentrated fishing when spawning and these closures will ensure the sustainability of the fishery.”

Mr Sipp said it's impossible to run a business and employ people as the five-day closure leaves his fishing boat moored in Gladstone for three weeks.

“We have to shut down for five days and are not allowed to trade, but the charter boats can still go out there and they catch the same as what a trout boat catches,” Mr Sipp said.

“The closing for the spawning doesn't improve anything.”



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