Commercial fisher quits the industry ahead of net-free zones

EX-COMMERCIAL fisherman Luke Hargreaves quit the industry in December last year, with fears of the net-free fishing ban going ahead.

Now employed in horticulture in Bowen, Mr Hargreaves fears many of his friends will struggle.

Fisho CQ owner Luke Hargreaves is devistated his seafood retail business has lost almost 40% of gross sales and he blames lack fo guidance and direction from the Queensland Government. Photo Nikita Watts / The Morning Bulletin ROK201011nfish1
Fisho CQ owner Luke Hargreaves is devistated his seafood retail business has lost almost 40% of gross sales and he blames lack fo guidance and direction from the Queensland Government. Photo Nikita Watts / The Morning Bulletin ROK201011nfish1 Nikita Watts

"My wife and I got out of our business, but I think a lot of my old mates in Gladstone are all talking about getting out now (of the industry)," he said.

>> Net-free fishing zones to be implemented by year's end

"Since I could walk I was fishing, and most of the guys are the same.

"My tertiary education is urban development, so I phoned a friend and didn't have much trouble getting work.

"They (other fishermen) don't have a lot of skills to fall back on outside of that industry."

Mr Hargreaves was a commercial fisherman with a licence to fish the Capricorn Coast area for nine years.

He said until 2011 it was his ideal profession.

"The commercial fishermen are the ones who do help the sustainability of it all," he said.

"They're always the first to report illegal activities on the water and now with them gone, the ferals with illegal nets will be all over the place."

Mr Hargreaves said the net-free fishing zones would drive more commercial fishermen to other areas, which would in the future become over fished, leading to more regulations and closures.



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