Commercial fishing the big issue

COMMERCIAL fishing is shaping up to be a key State Election platform, with the Nationals and the Greens casting vastly different policies to the voting public.

After the State Government added to restrictions on professional fishers fishing the Solitary Islands Marine Park, the Coalition has pitched a more favourable policy to the seafood industry.

Opposition spokesman for Primary Industries Duncan Gay yesterday announced the Liberal Nationals’ ‘Securing Sustainable, Viable and Healthy Fisheries’.

The policy promises a $16 million restructure of the industry, through fishing business exit grants and share class buy-outs.

Mr Gay said an independent review would assess NSW fisheries policy, management and administration and a new fishing stakeholders advisory council would also be formed.

“(It) will provide a strategy and implementation framework to ensure the public are confident that the fisheries of NSW are environmentally responsible and both ecologically and economically sustainable into the future,” Mr Gay said.

The policy won the support of the industry, and it had been well received by local fishermen’s co-operatives, John Harrison of the Professional Fishermen’s Association said.

“A properly funded structural adjustment program, a comprehensive review of the fisheries policy, management and administration, a review of zoning arrangements for access and a range of other initiatives is long overdue,” Mr Harrison said.

The Greens candidate for Oxley, Jeremy Bradley, meanwhile, took the concerns of local fishers to his party’s State Delegates Council over the weekend.

“I am confident The Greens have the best policies for the protection of our way of life and the sustainability of our natural resources,” Mr Bradley said.


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