Govt settlement schemes for fisherman hit by net-free zones

THE Queensland Government will catch some commercial fishing licences after implementing its new net-free fishing zones near Mackay and Rockhampton.

Licence buy-backs and compensations will be two settlement packages offered to commercial fisherman, Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne told the Opposition during budget estimates on Friday.

He said $10 million had been set aside for fishermen who wanted to transition out of the industry.

Mr Byrne said a compensation component from QRAA, a specialist administrator of government financial assistance, was already available, and the other option would be a voluntary buy-back program.

"We will be paying an attractive price for those licences plus an incentive to go with that," he said.

"It will depend very much on the rate of exposure that particular commercials have to the zones in place."

"The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is writing to each netting licence holder and fishers who have worked in those licences to advise them of the details around the settlement and buyback schemes and offer to meet with them individually to explain what it means for them."

The Capricorn Coast zone boundaries have been reduced, but still include parts of Keppel Bay and the Fitzroy River.

Mr Byrne said the zones, which are part of the government's Reef2050 plan, would be good for tourism, the Great Barrier Reef and recreational fishing.

He said 90% of the 6300 public submissions about the zones were positive.

The final maps for the zones were released on Friday, and the new zones will be in place before the end of the year. - APN NEWSDESK



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