Tag Archives: Queensland

F/V Dianne – Four fishermen still missing after second day of police searches

Police divers have been unable to find any of the four missing crew members after a second day scouring sunken fishing trawler Dianne off the central Queensland coast. Gladstone Patrol Inspector Darren Somerville said divers cleared the vessel and its immediate surroundings of debris but could not find any find any sign of the four fishermen. “Obviously the timeframe for survival expired some time ago, and that timeframe was whether they were in the vessel or even if they were in the water,” he said. click here to read the story 12:03

Sunken fishing trawler Dianne found by searchers off Queensland coast

Police say they have found the commercial fishing trawler Dianne in which six men are believed to have drowned when it sank in heavy seas on Monday night. The sea cucumber fishing boat was detected by sonar about two to three nautical miles off Round Hill Headland, near Seventeen Seventy. Police confirmed the discovery in a statement released just after 6:00pm today. Water Police will remain at the scene overnight and a full recovery operation will commence tomorrow morning. Twelve boats were involved in today’s operation, along with a helicopter and several vehicles that patrolled the shoreline. At least one of the boats was fitted with side scan sonar, using soundwaves to detect any possible man-made items under the water.  click here to read the story 08:36

Reunion for trawler survivor as search moves from rescue to recovery

Ruben McDornan, so far the only survivor from a sunken trawler with seven on board, has had an emotional reunion with his wife and mother at Gladstone Airport, after being plucked from the rough seas by a passing yacht on Tuesday morning. Police have conceded it would be “a miracle” to find any of the other six missing fishermen alive, with the search and rescue moving towards a “recovery” operation on Thursday. “Our thoughts are with the boys missing at the moment because they’re all like family,” Ms McDornan said through tears. click here to read the story 08:54

Families of missing six cling to hope as wild weather hampers search

Hope is fading of finding six men alive after their trawler capsized, with police saying the likelihood of finding them alive is “not looking real promising”. On Wednesday afternoon, police released the identities of all six men who were on board the trawler, named Dianne, adding 34-year-old Chris Sammut and 28-year-old Zach Feeney to the list of known missing men. Skipper Ben Leahy (45) and Cairns men Adam Bidner (33), Adam Hoffman (30) and Eli Tonks (39) had already been named as being on board. The trawler capsized off the central Queensland coast near Middle Island, about 7.30pm Monday.The trawler had been fishing for sea cucumber when it got into trouble off the town of 1770 and sank about five hours later. click here to read the story 08:54

Six fishermen feared dead off trawler screamed from inside boat as crewmate clung to hull

SIX fishermen now feared dead were screaming from ­inside their sinking boat while a crewmate clung to the hull after it capsized off the central Queensland coast. Ruben McDornan survived for 12 hours in heavy seas and before he was plucked to safety after a yacht found him by sheer luck early yesterday. Their boat Dianne overturned near Middle Island, about 20km northeast of the Town of 1770, at 7.30pm on Monday before it sank about midnight. click here to read the story 08:24

Police to resume search for crew of sunken trawlerclick here to read the story 17:31

Why did a trawler run aground on Lady Musgrave Island?

Marine authorities are investigating what caused a 50m fishing trawler to run aground on Lady Musgrave Island on Friday. Two men and a dog were forced to spend the night on board the stricken ship after an initial attempt to free themselves failed when their anchor line and boom broke. Mana is a Bundaberg-based fishing trawler. They were retrieved by crew from a passing boat on Saturday. The vessel remains grounded in the intertidal zone on the south side of the island, between the low and high water marks. click here to read the story 12:39

White Spot: Government has abandoned wild-caught prawn fishermen

THE $20 million in federal funding for prawn farmers affected by white spot is a great day for some and not so great for others if you are a commercial fishing business owner in the Moreton Bay region. There are some 300 micro and small fishing related businesses across the Moreton Bay region, including trawl and crab fishers, impacted by white spot that continue to be impacted in the wild and an ongoing movement control order on our commercial product. These businesses generate almost $20.5 million yet have received no assistance. At least 20 businesses have had their incomes severely impacted since December 2016 and still no help. The Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the Federal Government will give $20 million to prawn farmers impacted by white spot but said wild-catch fishermen are the responsibility of the State Government. click here to read the story 18:17

Poor season drives a black market for crabs in Qld

Poor weather over summer has resulted in a lucrative black market for the sale of mud crabs in Queensland. Recreational fishermen have been caught taking to websites such as Facebook, eBay and Gumtree to illegally sell mud crabs for up to $50 to try to reap the benefits of a poor crabbing season. It comes as the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol was preparing for a busy long weekend as thousands of people were taking to the water over the Easter break. Fishers and crabbers have also been found resorting to illegal activities such as keeping undersized and female mud crabs after a dry summer saw fewer mud crabs being caught in Queensland’s waterways. Earlier this year, a man was fined $3100 after pleading guilty to five crab-related offences, click here to continue reading 13:24

Fishing industry rattled as white spot disease breaks barriers

It was the outbreak they were expecting, but hoping would never come to pass. Concern and uncertainty seem to the prevailing moods amongst the Queensland commercial fishing industry, reeling from this week’s news that white spot disease had broken it’s containment in the Logan River and been detected in Moreton Bay. There’s also considerable frustration amongst members of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA), many of whom predicted the outbreak was a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. “It definitely hasn’t been a good week for us,” says QSIA’s CEO Eric Perez. “There’s certainly a lot of concern about the impact this will have on the industry here, as well as the knock-on effects this will have on the wider community.” There appears to be no immediate threat to fisheries in the Gympie and Cooloola Cove regions, but tests are ongoing just to determine how far the disease has spread. continue reading the story here 11:16

Fears for prawn industry grow after white spot found in Moreton Bay

The ban on movement of uncooked prawns and crustaceans outside a new control zone could lead to cheaper seafood for south-east Queenslanders. Uncooked products will not be allowed to leave the area, which includes Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay, but they can be sold within the area. The movement order, effective immediately, includes crabs, prawns, yabbies, Moreton Bay bugs and marine worms. It comes after positive test results on several properties in the Logan River. Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne briefed prawn farmers, commercial fishers and others in the industry on Thursday morning, but some trawlers are still at sea and will need to be spoken to when they return. The prawns were caught within the past week at the Redcliffe Peninsula and Deception Bay, with 31 testing positive. continue reading the story here 21:52

White spot threat: is fishing finished in Queensland?

The Logan River white spot epidemic could destroy all mainland fishing in Queensland, including a big slice of the Cooloola Coast seafood and tourism economy, industry leader Kev Reibel has warned. A Queensland Seafood Industry Association board member and Tin Can Bay trawler operator, Mr Reibel said the threat was credible and immediate. “To say we are worried would be something of an understatement,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Gympie Times on Sunday. “We don’t know if it can be stopped and we don’t know its boundaries within the crustaceans, or even if it has any boundaries. If it affects crabs, that’s another industry and another tourism factor wiped out. He backed claims by industry environmental adviser and Bay net fishing operator Joe McLeod that the apparently unstoppable virus is a threat to the food chains which sustain all kinds of fin fishing. Mr McLeod said the plankton that kicked off the fin fish food chain included juvenile prawns and other crustaceans. “If they’re not there, there is nothing for the fish to eat,” Mr McLeod said yesterday. Both said there was a fearful lack of knowledge of the virus’ boundaries, especially with the crustacean group.  Continue reading the story here 09:32

Indefinite ban on prawn imports after outbreak of white spot disease in Queensland

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has this morning bowed to pressure from prawn farmers and indefinitely banned importation of the frozen crustacean, following an outbreak of the devastating white spot disease in Queensland. Farmers have been lobbying for the suspension of Asian prawn imports following the discovery of the disease in five separate locations of the Logan River, south of Brisbane, last month. Mr Joyce said he was concerned the prawns infected prawns could make it into the waterways, further spreading the disease in Australian prawn farms. The biosecurity minister urged people who have bought raw green prawns not to put them in water ways, like using them as bait for fishing, with fears it could contaminate local prawns. Mr Joyce said a white spot disease outbreak could devastate Australia’s $360 million prawn industry.  Read the story here 09:44

Sister of missing Night Raider fisherman wants answers, asks why search didn’t start sooner

1481281392085The prawn trawler departed Urangan, at Hervey Bay, on November 11 and headed east before the trawler’s Vessel Monitoring System, a mandatory system that provides hourly updates on the location of all trawlers in Queensland waters to Fisheries, stopped responding on November 12. Leigh Ann Hunt said that is when a search should have started to find her little brother, 38-year-old Douglas Hunt, along with the two other men aboard, aged 24 and 60, who remain missing. A Fisheries Queensland spokeswoman said while the VMS was not an at-sea safety system, it could be used in search and rescue operations by providing the last known position of a vessel. For the next six days, Fisheries Queensland attempted to make contact with the Night Raider and notified other vessels in the area along with the family of the vessel’s owner. Read the rest here 09:10

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

‘Alarm bells ringing’ as Queensland Fisheries Minister responds to scallop stock collapse

6123326-3x2-700x467A stock assessment of scallops has revealed critically low numbers off the Queensland coast, just 6 per cent of their original biomass. Catches in the past year are at the lowest level since records began almost 40 years ago. Queensland’s Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne, only six days into the portfolio after the departure of former minister Leanne Donaldson, admits the situation is so dire, the Government had considered imposing a total ban. Instead, it had opted to permanently close a number of ‘replenishment areas’, covering 11 per cent of the scallop grounds, that were due to reopen in January. An annual spawning closure from May 1 to October 31 would also be introduced in an urgent bid to rebuild stocks. Keeping these closed and implementing winter closures were expected to impact on up to 40 per cent of the annual catch, based on recent fishing history. Read the story here 16:04

Lost men will be remembered with a bell

b88391109z1_20161023191839_000g0gc9c6o2-0-dd0jf9hf1tz1ud0x3n2_t460ON THE edge of the water at the Bundaberg Port stands a bell. It is a memorial for Matt Roberts and David Chivers, the same bell that would have been rung on the Cassandra. On Saturday, more than 100 people gathered to remember the men. Richard Brown, general manager of Markwell Fisheries which owned the trawler, said the company donated the bell so family, friends and fellow fishermen could have a place to pay their respects. “One of the hard things in this situation, when you talk about someone lost at sea, is there is no closure,” Mr Brown said. “The idea behind it is to give the family some kind of closure, which I think we achieved – the families were very pleased.” The bell is a symbol of boats and fishing, “a passion for both the boys”. “It’s not often everyone gets to gather together, and for the fishing industry to come together; a lot of stories and memories come out. Read the story here 09:12 Massive air and sea search near Fraser Island for missing prawn trawler “Cassandra” fishermen click here 09:21

Fishing rights restored in changes to marine parks in Queensland and Western Australia

1472508703157Commercial fishing rights will be reinstated, conservation zones expanded and new limits put on oil and gas exploration following a review of the controversial federal network of marine parks. Fishing rights will be restored principally in Queensland and Western Australia for commercial and recreational fishers, potentially saving millions of dollars in compensation. But after a long review Australia’s world-leading network of marine-protected areas remains largely intact. Fishing groups had complained about the process which led to the creation of the protected areas, claiming it had not been “science based”. But two reviews released yesterday found there had been good consultation on the original proposes and a sound scientific base to the reserve network. Read the rest here 10:56

Commercial fisherman turns low-grade fish into healthy, tasty pet treats

doggy treats from underutilized fishNo commercial fisherman ever wants to throw away or waste a fish he’s worked hard to catch. The reality is, though, some species demand very little interest among consumers and consequently, provide little or no return. But an enterprising fisherman in Mission Beach in far north Queensland believes he’s overcome the problem by transforming his low-grade fish products into high-value dog treats. Glen Murray said his ‘light bulb moment’ came when one of his own dogs was diagnosed with arthritis and the vet recommended fish oil tablets as a treatment. The beauty of his dog treat concept was not only finding a market for fish he traditionally struggled to sell, but the fact the manufacturing process utilised the resource more effectively. Read the story here 08:46

Selling out Fishermen so the Tourists can catch the fish! Commercial license Buyout, Round II

1450255765427On Monday the Queensland Government begins a second round of voluntary licence buybacks for commercial anglers, following the introduction of the state’s three new net-free fishing zones on November 1 last year. The government aimed to buyback 46 licences, but only secured 27 during the first round. Four of those were from Mackay-area fishermen, one was from Cairns and 22 from Rockhampton. While only commercial fishermen operating within the areas of the three net-free zones were offered the buyback last time, this second round will offer remuneration to license-holders from within and adjacent to the zones. State fisheries Minister Leanne Donaldson said there had been detailed consultation with stakeholders about it. “We have delivered on our promise to implement net-free zones and to take advantage of the tourism potential of fishery resources,” she said. “If funds permit, the voluntary buyback scheme may then be extended to commercial net fishers in other areas.” Read the rest here 17:00

WWF aims to buy second commercial shark fishing licence

negative__positive___wwf_panda_by_hpfil-d5mthkwWWF Australia bought and retired a $100,000 shark fishing licence on the Great Barrier Reef last month. They called for donations to cover the cost and so much was donated — from more than 30 countries — that they are now looking to purchase a second licence. will now try to raise $200,000 to purchase and retire a second N4 licence that caught more than 280,000 kg of shark between 1999 and 2006. “By preventing both licences from returning to shark fishing we can save about 20,000 sharks each year, including endangered hammerheads,” she said. Read the rest here  15:54

Commercial fisherman slams Noosa sustainability critic

b88212177z1_20160715073049_000gd17sptd3-0-4ybvx8hd27tyf8jsjm2_ct620x465A commercial fisherman whose suppliers were net fishing at Noosa North Shore on the weekend has slammed claims the men were doing “irreparable damage” to local fish stocks. “How is it possible that netters (sic) from NSW can come here to the Noosa Biosphere/Noosa North Shore, camp where they like with no facilities in a no camp zone, take about 300 tonnes of breeding stock fish that should have spawned the lake systems here, truck them back to NSW…” he wrote. He called on the State Government to buy back commercial fishing licences and labelled the practice “unsustainable”.  Richard Brown said, “For some reason Noosa is an area that they seem to isolate themselves and think that everyone’s coming and taking their product and leaving.” He said the idea that only Noosa residents should catch fish off Noosa beaches was a recurring one but had no scientific basis. “I wonder if those people in Noosa only eat Noosa tomatoes potato and steak,” he said. Mr Brown said Markwell Fisheries had been operating on the Noosa North Shore since 1944. The fact they are still there was proof their fishing practices were sustainable, he said. Read the rest here 20:57

Fishermen condemn Labor candidate Lucy Stanton’s claims – Mark Jason Alexander, Commercial fisherman

Lucy Stanton, ALPAs commercial  fishermen you expect some challenges, bad weather, fluctuating fish prices, bad seasons, but you do not expect to be falsely accused of a serious crime which has no basis and is totally untrue. We are concerned about the motives of Lucy Stanton given that she is a candidate for the Labor Party for the forthcoming election. As commercial fishermen we take pride in our product that we catch and get it to the market in the best possible condition. We also pay thousands of dollars in licence fees each year so as to keep operating. In addition to the licence fees we have an initial outlay of what can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are not about to risk our livelihood by doing something as stupid as firing weapons in a public place at night time as alleged. This is just totally untrue. Read the rest here 22:42

Wide Bay net ban candidate Lucy Stanton says Fishermen using ‘machine guns’ to intimidate

Lucy Stanton, ALPPROFESSIONAL fishermen have been accused of using machine guns to intimidate residents and visitors in the area between the Noosa River and Teewah, Wide Bay Labor candidate Lucy Stanton has claimed. Ms Stanton also accused some professional netters of defying food safety and camping regulations and deliberately scaring away witnesses. She has advocated extending Fraser Island’s World Heritage area to the mainland, including a ban on inshore net fishing. “The people living on Noosa North Shore and those tourists visiting are being forced to put up with shocking behavior on the part of commercial netters,” she said. “Residents have reported automatic gunfire at night during this latest episode of worrying behavior on the part of these people. “They lack respect for people and have even less regard for the environment. Read the rest here 09:59

Cameron Henderson, Tin Can Bay Chamber of Commerce is a reasonable man

b88185614z1_20160624140606_000go178g312-0-srkbb1th9v9nc44nfm2_fct1839x1366_ct620x465With the most important federal election in many years due in just a week, I thought that it may be beneficial to share some information learnt recently. Whilst a chamber of commerce remains “apolitical”, it sometimes becomes hard to remain impartial. I have had several discussions with the ALP candidate for the Wide Bay, Lucy Stanton. Her plans for this region are to shut down commercial net fishing and have the area World Heritage listed. Ms Stanton argues that fish stocks have declined due to commercial fishing alone; I have been informed that there are many factors as to why fish stocks fluctuate over the years. Commercial fishing is not the sole reason. The commercial fishing industry is heavily regulated and licence holders are held accountable. Evidence recently circulated claiming otherwise is outdated and inconclusive in my mind. Graphs and charts can be manipulated to suit an agenda. Read this letter here 20:41

Tin Can Bay businessman rejects recreational fisherman’s call for net fishing ban

A Tin Can Bay businessman has rejected calls by recreational fishing spokesman Lindsay Dines for a net fishing ban to be implemented from the Mary River to Noosa. Mr Dines has strongly backed moves to World Heritage list the Cooloola section of Great Sandy Marine Park and the Sandy Strait. Cooloola Coast Seafoods owner Warren Sullivan sells local and imported seafood, fish and chips. He buys fish direct from local fishermen, processes them on site and then sells it on site. “I wonder what scientific evidence (Mr Dines) has about the fish fleeing nets or is he just making claims with no evidence to back this up?” Mr Sullivan asks. Read the rest here 10:54

The brutal business of crabbing in Gladstone

OGO_23-04-2016_ROP_04_GLA220416CRAB%20_1__fct1024x768x381.0_ct460x345The mud crabs in the Gladstone region are the best in Queensland and some local crabbers aren’t afraid of fighting, stealing, threatening and ramming each others’ boats to catch them. With no full-time boating and fisheries patrol officers in Gladstone now the crabbers sometimes have to resort to intimidation to lay claim to the estuaries and waterways where the crabs are. The small commercial crabbing community is awash with rumours, finger pointing and little trust over stealing of crabs, crab pots and cutting floats. Audio, read the rest here 19:16

Tensions reach boiling point over net-free fishing zones

Tensions have reached boiling point in some fishing grounds along the Queensland coast, with one industry representative alleging guns have been drawn between commercial operators. “The Fisheries [Department] actually had to go to a place called Stanage Bay … and talk to some commercial operators up there because of movement of fishermen from one area to another; they’re actually starting to draw guns on each other,” Rockhampton fisherman and Queensland Seafood Industry Association director David Swindells said. “They’ve got rifles out threatening to shoot each other. These people are frightened of losing their livelihoods, so they’ve virtually taken matters into their own hands.” Read the rest here 08:24

Net-free fishing zones will cost jobs, push up prices: commercial fishermen

A bitter dispute has broken out between Queensland’s commercial and recreational fishers over the Government’s plan to introduce net-free zones. From November 1, commercial net fishers will no longer be able to operate in three areas, including one off the Cairns coastline, one in waters north of Mackay, and the largest zone between Keppel Bay and the Fitzroy River in central Queensland. “It could put in this area 60 to 70 people put of work – that doesn’t include associated industries like wholesalers or ice sales or rope supplies,”,,, Read the rest here 09:06

I like this guy! Stephen Georgouras is selling Shark Fins from legally caught sharks

Cairns Ocean Products has been selling sun-dried shark fin, caught legally by local commercial fishermen, for the past two months, at $25.50/kg. In Queensland, fishers can cut the fins off sharks at sea, as long as they return to shore with an acceptable ratio of shark fins to shark meat. Cairns Ocean Products owner Stephen Georgouras said he was merely trying to onsell the product for local fishermen. “This business about sharks being endangered on our coastline here is unfounded.” Read the rest here 17:38