Queensland’s trawling industry under threat over low scallop numbers

6123326-3x2-700x467Scallop fishers have been told the Federal Government may step in and restrict fishing and exports for the entire trawling industry in Queensland if stock numbers do not dramatically improve. The warning came at a meeting at Bundaberg, which was the culmination of two days worth of talks between industry and the State Government about the dire state of the scallop stock. Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne announced last week he would close stock replenishment areas (SRAs) and introduce a winter spawning closure, in the wake of a stock assessment that put the biomass level at 6 per cent of 1977 levels. But emotional, frustrated and at times hostile fishermen and processors disputed the assessment. The industry has questioned how a fishery that had been managed for decades could end up in this position. Stephen Murphy, from Hervey Bay Cold Stores, said the fishing industry should not bear all the blame for the situation, saying climate and environmental issues also played a part. “Especially things like the Gladstone dredging. As soon as they started that dredging for the LNG project, they dumped millions and millions of tonnes of spoil from that harbour on to pretty well the best scallop grounds in Queensland,” he said. Read the article here 11:18