GPC announces scheme to compensate commercial fishers
GLADSTONE Ports Corporation has released details of a compensation scheme that will benefit commercial fishers affected by loss of access to Gladstone Harbour.
The compensation scheme targets fishers that used specific Gladstone Harbour catchments between 2005 and 2010 and were left out of pocket from the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project.
It is expected successful applicants to the scheme could receive compensation before mid-2013.
GPC chief executive Leo Zussino said the scheme had been developed to meet the Queensland Coordinator General's conditions.
As a result, conditions 20 and 21 in Schedule 3 of the Queensland Coordinator General's would be addressed via the scheme.
"The Gladstone Ports Corporation looks forward to affected commercial fishermen receiving compensation during the first half of 2013," Mr Zussino said.
Although Mr Zussino said GPC would be responsible for providing money to those eligible, he said the amount of money delegated would depend on each individual fisher's case.
The amount will be calculated on 50% of the fisher's annual average gross value of their fishing product for their best two years. The sum is then multiplied by three.
"Some people may get it in February, other people may get it later...it depends on the process," Mr Zussino said.
"We're looking at clearing it up in four to five months," Mr Zussino said.
Mr Zussino said people who held commercial fishing licences and operated within specific impact sites would be eligible for the scheme.
Fishers who worked within catchment sites 12, 13, 17 and 18 would also be eligible.
GPC also announced a separate $1.5 million fund to help revitalise Gladstone's seafood industry through a dedicated campaign.
Yesterday the Queensland Seafood Industry Association said it would comment on the issue at a later date.
Seafood retailers response
SEAFOOD retailers do not see any point to the Gladstone Port Corporation's new funding announcement to revitalise the local seafood industry.
"There isn't a seafood industry in Gladstone anymore," Gladstone Fish Market owner Tedd Whittingham said.
"We definitely feel excluded from the debate."
Tedd said they were not told about the announcement of a compensation scheme or the new funding model to revitalise the local seafood industry.
Mr Whittingham said he had lost 70% of his business as a result of the dredging project and issues concerning the health of the Gladstone Harbour.
Local long-time fisher Gary Grant said although he did not want to comment on the specifics of the announcement, he said the ordeal had left him feeling frustrated.
"This situation needs to be dealt with better. A lot of fishermen have been pushed out of town. It's terrible."
For more Gladstone harbour stories click here.