Save our scallop industry: Workers laid off during closure
A LOCAL seafood company was forced to lay off close to 30 staff during the scallop winter spawning closure.
Impacting on these job losses was the added pressure on the industry following the State Government's decision to also close scallop replenishment areas off Hervey Bay.
To protect the sustainability of scallops in Queensland, urgent management changes came into place on January 3, 2017 in a bid to reduce the total scallop catch by as much as 40 per cent.
Ross Bradford, from Boat Harbour Fisheries, said the closures didn't help anyone in the industry.
"We had to source scallops from Western Australia and have more processing of prawns to compensate (for) the loss," Mr Bradford said.
"I lost more than 20 staff who would usually be processing scallops. It's been hard for us."
Mr Bradford said it had a snowball effect on the company financially.
"Scallops keep people in jobs," he said.
"No boats out locally affects the export market too."
From January all six scallop replenishment areas located off Yeppoon, Bustard Head and Hervey Bay, were closed to all scallop fishing.
This includes the three areas that were due to open on January 3. The ban remains in place and will until further notice.
"Before they made the spontaneous decision to close, we offered to take the team out to these scallop areas for research but nothing ever happened," Mr Bradford said.
"I would like to see the government do more research of sustainability of scallops in our regions."
With the opening of the winter spawning on November 1, Mr Bradford said it had been a good start to the season.
"We have plenty of scallops for Christmas, about 100kg plus a week," he said.
"The warmer weather we've had has had a good impact on the scallops because they fatten up quicker."
Boat Harbour Fisheries supplies scallops locally to restaurants and internationally to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.