Tag Archives: New South Wales

Fishing inquiry calls for more money for adjustment and an urgent assessment of fishing stocks

An inquiry into commercial fishing in New South Wales has recommended the Government find more money to help fishermen adjust to reforms. $16 million dollars has been put aside to help fishermen buy extra shares to stay in the industry, but many have claimed that won’t be enough. Chair of the inquiry Robert Brown said about $20 million might be required. “No fisher, none of these small businesses should be left hanging,” he said. The reforms were aimed at removing a large number of “latent” licences from the industry but Mr Brown said those licences should have been handled differently from active licences held by working fishermen. continue reading the story here 20:21

Catch Shares – ‘I have no fingernails’: Paul’s distress as livelihood slips away

Those are the words of Illawarra commercial fisherman Paul Heron – spoken amid a heartfelt plea against planned NSW government changes that will likely see him without a job. Those reforms – part of the government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, announced last year – include the introduction of minimum shareholding from July 2017.  That means fishers must hold a certain number of shares to be endorsed to fish. “It is basically going to make a small fisher like me, with a young family and a mortgage – I am two years into my mortgage – we are basically going to lose our house,” he told the inquiry. Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair told the hearing he had listened to fishers up and down the NSW coast. “The change is difficult, the change is hard, but it is necessary to have an industry going into the future,” Mr Blair said. A man in a suit. Video, read the rest here, including Paul Heron’s submission to the Senate inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW. 14:42

Baird government commercial “catch share” fishing reform will see Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative lose members

The head of the Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative says he doesn’t know how many members will leave as a result of the Baird government’s commercial fishing reforms. Robert Gauta has told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that the reforms had led to “uncertainty” over how many of its members “will stay and how many will go”. Set to come into play from the middle of 2017, the government’s reforms to the $90 million commercial fishing industry link fishing rights with catch levels. The government argues the reform will make the industry sustainable, but the introduction of minimum shareholdings will also mean commercial fishers may need to increase their holdings to maintain the same catch level. “The cooperative makes money when the fishers catch fish; it is that simple … fewer fisherman would mean fewer fish.” Read the story here 09:58

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

Fishermen panic buy shares at inflated prices as government confirms reform agenda

Fishermen in New South Wales are reported to be panic buying shares at massively increased prices to ensure they can continue working next year. That is despite a state government trading scheme starting in early 2017 designed to ensure an orderly transition to a share-based fishery, backed by $16 million in compensation to ease the cost to fishermen. Ticia Limon from Narooma on the state’s south coast said share prices in the Line West fishery had risen more than 300 per cent in the last few months. She bought them to ensure she and her husband could meet new minimum share holding requirements set by the government to continue fishing. NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, has ruled out stopping the reform process in the commercial fishing industry. Key fishing groups including the Professional Fishermen’s Association, the Wild Caught Fishers Coalition and most of the cooperatives have opposed the reforms. Read the story here 08:59

Commercial fishermen fear for future under NSW Government industry (catch share) reforms

Allan Reed left school at The Entrance at the age of 16, he has overcome many snags in a 37-year career as a commercial fisherman on the Central Coast. But now the 53-year-old and his 79-year-old father, Allan Sr, along with dozens of other commercial fishers in the region, face the “soul-destroying” prospect of it all coming to an abrupt end. Mr Reed and his father will have to pay $370,000 to keep their prawning, mud-crab and meshing business operating in local waters under the State Government’s reforms to the $90 million industry. “We’ll have to buy all these extra shares to keep operating just as we are now. How does that make sense?” In a week when an upper house inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW is hearing submissions from various stakeholders, Mr Reed said the industry overhaul was “all about benefiting a handful of people and driving out the rest of us”. NSW Wild Caught Fishers Coalition president Dane Van Der Neut estimates half of the 100 commercial fishers on the Coast, from Tuggerah Lake to the Hawkesbury, will be “squeezed out” when the reforms kick in from July next year. Read the story here 15:34

Illegal mud crab fishermen targeted as price reaches $70 a kilogram

4795980-3x2-940x627Authorities warn of stern action against those caught illegally catching mud crabs in New South Wales. With the crustaceans selling at $70 a kilogram, it is proving a lucrative crime for those offloading onto the black market. The NSW Department of Primary Industries’ director of fisheries compliance Patrick Tully said the area of most concern was unlicensed fishermen. “It’s illegal, unregulated and unreported,” he said. “We’re concerned that there are people using too many crab traps, not marking them so they can’t be found, and then selling them on what’s essentially the black market.” “At $70 a kilo one crab could be more than $70, they can grow to quite big animals. “It’s what we used to call the ‘shamateur’ — not a licensed fisherman, not really a recreational fisherman, just that person in the middle who is exploiting the resource at the expense of others.” Read the story here 15:34

New South Wales mock share-auction website crashes!

trawler_fct910x683x108-0_ct620x465ABOUT 90 fishers who took time off to learn how to stay in the changing industry have been left with no help due to a crashing website. The website, set up to train fishers how to buy and sell fishing rights in an upcoming New South Wales-wide shares auction, went offline between 9am and 1pm on Monday. It was meant to be the website’s first day online. Upper house Labor MP Mick Veitch said the crash was indicative of “continuing errors in the implementation of the commercial fishing restructure”. Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair told parliament fishers were still able to get phone help. He said about 450 fishers were registered for the mock share-auction stage, but most of the industry would not need to take part. The online failure follows a troubled training session branded a shambles by industry figures. Local fishers came away saying they left the session disappointed, angrier, dismayed, with more questions than when they came. Read the rest here 10:53

Fisherman to join shark fight as contractors to deploy drumlines

The Baird government will have to employ contractors, likely to be fishermengreat_white_shark_11 to carry out its plan to deploy 100 “smart” drumlines as it grapples with preventing more shark attacks. Resisting calls for shark nets to be installed in NSW north coast waters that have suffered a spate of attacks in the past 18 months, the government instead announced an extra 85 smart drumlines will be installed, particularly around Ballina. South Cross University marine biologist Danny Bucher said he was concerned about how commercial fishermen would handle the sharks. “The tradition of how to handle a fish, for a fisherman, is quite different to how you handle a fish as a scientist. For me to actually catch a fish for research purposes, I have to do a 14-page ethics-committee approval. It’s quite a different matter for a fisherman,” Dr Bucher said. “Those fisherman would have to be trained.” (lol) Read the story here 09:04

Federal Government has signalled it would consider a shark cull on the NSW north coast

As shark attack victim Cooper Allen recovers in Lismore Hospital, the Federal Government has signaled it would consider a shark cull on the NSW north coast. Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s statement comes as the State Government announces a further three- month trial of shark-spotting drones and additional drum lines for the area. He said he was open to proposals for a cull of great white sharks. Culling great whites would need federal approval because they are a vulnerable species. Read the rest here 09:26

New South Wales Fishers aren’t hooked by latest govt catch share plan

NiallFishers claim a “preview” share trading period is the New South Wales Government’s attempt to avoid admitting it does not understand its own commercial fishing law reforms. Anyone wishing to continue their job will be forced to buy back their rights under an industry-wide restructuring aimed at keeping fisheries sustainable. The cut-off date for fishers has now been extended to December2. Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair last week admitted his department could not explain what shares would be available and how much they would cost. The government has opened up a “preview period” to help fishers wrap their heads around what is coming – a dry run allowing them to trade mock shares without any actual money changing hands. Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-operative general manager Danielle Adams welcomed the time extension but said the government had still failed to explain what the future held for fishers. Read the story here 20:00

New South Wales: King Prawn prices drop as fishermen haul in record catches off Coffs Coast

7779498-3x2-940x627Fishermen off the Coffs Coast in northern New South Wales are reporting record catches of the iconic eastern king prawn. The Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative’s seafood operations manager Shane Geary said he had never seen anything like it. “The last week or two, it’s probably been the biggest I’ve seen it in the 26 years I’ve been at the fish co-op,” he said. “Leading up to the full moon, we had some big catches; some of the boats there, not last night but the night before, had up to two tonne in the one night. “That’s some pretty big catches.”He said stocks were plentiful and the weather had been ideal. “We’re really pumping out a lot of prawns at the moment, both regionally and into Sydney,” Mr Geary said. “The prices have been fantastic. We’ve been retailing for around about $18 which we haven’t done for quite a long time. Read the rest here 17:18

Catch Shares: Commercial fishers on Far South Coast want action on restructure

aust catch shares 2The restructure of the NSW commercial fishing industry is reaching an important milestone with companies and individuals having until tomorrow to decide on whether they take a $20,000 buy-out to exit the industry. NSW Labor called on the State Primary Industries Minister to suspend the restructure process until more information is on the table to assist fishers in making the right decision for themselves, their families, and for the sustainability of the industry in general. But Bermagui Fishermen’s Cooperative managing director Rocky Lagana was of the opposite view and said the three-year restructure process needed to reach a conclusion to afford those who wanted to remain some certainty. Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch however called it policy-on-the-run and said a hastily cobbled together Ministerial  press release the day after Labor’s call for a suspension made a few concessions without addressing the real concerns – which are the need for more information, more time and the need to hit the pause button. Read the story here 10:26

Catch Shares New South Wales Style – Half the Small Boat Fishermen will disappear

f0f9f27c3eccac1a79ca860253f82a91MORE than half of the Coast’s 100 commercial fishers are expected to be cut adrift after the state government released its industry reforms last week. Dane Van Der Neut, president of the NSW Wild Caught Fishers Coalition, said the worst fears of local commercial fishers were realised in the Baird Government’s bid to overhaul the $90 million industry. “We’ll now lose over half our fleet, from Tuggerah Lake to the Hawkesbury, because the government wants to corporatise the industry, make all shares equal, and price out the smaller operators,” Patonga-based Mr Van Der Neut said. Terrigal state Liberal MP Adam Crouch hailed the changes as a “new era” for commercial fishing. Read the rest here 08:16