Fisherman Ben Coyne (left).
Fisherman Ben Coyne (left).

Why this CQ fisherman welcomes new regulations

A SAINT Lawrence fisherman says widespread “doom and gloom” attitudes towards new State Government fishing regulations are unfounded.

Government regulations announced at the end of September after two years of consultation have begun to be rolled out.

Ben Coyne has fished for eight years; he learnt the trade from his father, a fisherman of 40 years.

“They’re bringing in a quota system,” he said.

“If you’re lucky they’ll just cut it in half and that’s the quota you’re given.

“Basically there are too many fishermen on the water, commercial and recreational.”

But, he said, “It’s not all doom and gloom reforms.”

He said too many fishermen and unsustainable fishing methods damaged species in Central Queensland, such as mud crab, barramundi, and king salmon.

“Fishermen generally migrate from area to area,” Mr Coyne said.

“We take the cream off an area and then we go to another area so there’s always a healthy population.

“That’s what it used to be like when my father was doing it. Nowadays there are just so many of us, everyone’s running over each other’s paths.

“It’s just rape and pillage basically. The stocks don’t have the chance to recover.”

He said the regulations would force fishermen to be more conscientious and, “like any other primary producers”, put money back into the ecosystems from which they gained.

He said both recreational and commercial fishermen would benefit from decreased competition on the water and the replenishment of fish populations, since good quality, fresh fish would become more readily available.

“We think the consumer’s going to benefit from this,” Mr Coyne said.

“It’ll keep everyone happy because there’s a lot more recreational fishing than there ever was, and [commercially,] the demand for fresh fish and mud crab is not as high as it used to be because a lot are catching their own.”

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