SELL-OFF CLAIM: Cooloola Coast fishers say Queensland's wild fish resource could soon be sold off, possibly to monopoly or even overseas interests.
SELL-OFF CLAIM: Cooloola Coast fishers say Queensland's wild fish resource could soon be sold off, possibly to monopoly or even overseas interests. Craig Warhurst 0708090553

Like fish or fishing? Be prepared to pay a whole lot more

QUEENSLANDERS will be paying a lot more for fresh locally caught fish under privatisation plans which could conceal other interests.

That is the view of Gympie region fishing operators, including Tin Can Bay fisherman and industry analyst Joe McLeod.

He said small inshore net fishers like him are headed for the scrap heap because of an imminent reorganisation of the industry, which will turn the Queensland fishery resource into private property.

Mr McLeod said governments at state and federal level were pushing ahead with major changes, including a Queensland plan to privatise the resource so that "Queensland's fishery will not belong to Queensland anymore."

The plan would turn fish catch limits into transferable rights, or shares, which could be accumulated by big operators and even sold off overseas, he said.

The plans, described at state government level as "significant long-term change", will affect all current fishing management arrangements.

Mr McLeod said even the politicians introducing the change did not seem to understand what their bureaucrats were putting forward under the guise of conservation.

Gympie Times

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