Catch Shares: NSW fishermen allege “share barons” used insider trading to aggregate licences

Donald Mowbray, a former bank manager who is chairman of the Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative, said in his submission to the inquiry that he had grave concerns about “share barons” who he described as “individuals who are part of the industry’s decision makers who hold considerable conflicts of interest.” He said the Government’s own share register showed a number of people with direct links to the reforms and to the department had accumulated huge numbers of shares. He claimed important commercial information was “withheld” from others outside the advisory groups. He said he raised his concerns with the minister and the department years ago, but said the trades were dismissed as “speculation” and not “insider trading”. Fishermen are worried about the emergence of big corporate players and fear it could result in the demise of their fourth and fifth generation family businesses and many of the cooperatives that rely on them. The Government, with some support from industry (the share barons), maintains that aggregation and corporatisation in the sector is an important step to economic viability and better environmental management. Read the story here, and listen to this audio report here 09:20