New shock looms with fish rezoning
A GLADSTONE seafood company that has been forced to move on once already fears it will happen again as a result of fishing area rezoning.
Gladstone Fish Market owner Simon Whittingham said when the revised zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was introduced in 2004, the Federal Government had helped them develop a business plan and buy a business in Hervey Bay to relocate part of seafood company.
He said this was due to the immediate zoning around the company’s scallop zones from Yeppoon to Baffle Creek.
Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said the Federal Government was developing the Marine Protected Areas right around the Australian coastline out to the 200 nautical mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The MPA’s would include no-take zones that impacted on commercial and recreational fishing.
Mr Whittingham said when the marine park rezoning occurred, 30 per cent of every bio region was shut down, creating “no-take” zones.
He said the Federal Government understood then that the rezoning would affect businesses, which was why they offered the restructuring package.
“We chose to restructure the business,” Mr Whittingham said.
“I’m only young (38-years-old). I didn’t want to be forced to leave the industry. But three years later, they come back to shut the grounds down here (Hervey Bay).
“The ones that I’m more interested in is a big parcel of ocean they are going to shut down off Fraser Island. That’s where my catches are.
“I have a hard time understanding the rationale.”
Mr Whittingham said his company, which had been operating out of Gladstone for 27 years, employed between 100-120 people in Gladstone and Hervey Bay.