Tag Archives: New South Wales

Whale entanglements in NSW waters hits new record

Marine Wildlife Project Officer with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Andrew Marshall, said between May and September there were 35 reported whale entanglements off the NSW coast and only a handful of successful rescues.,,, Mr Marshall said it was a common misconception that whales were mainly getting tangled in shark nets or marine debris. “That just doesn’t stack up with our data; in the vast majority of cases, it’s not debris and less than 10 per cent is nets,” he said.   Mr Marshall said it was fantastic to see humpback whale numbers recovering and booming, but that also meant there would be an increasing number becoming entangled. >click to read<  10:52

Commercial fisherman Ross Miller, 90, still building prawn trawlers despite concerns about industry’s future

Building a commercial prawn trawler at the age of 90 as the fishing industry undergoes change in New South Wales would be viewed as the ultimate in optimism. Ross Miller has fished for decades around Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast after starting in Sydney in his early teens in a career which has included building and running ferries as well as fishing boats. He has lost count of how many boats he has built, although the latest venture is the ninth to bear the name Kirra. >click to read< 08:22

Four fishermen rescued off the coast New South Wales

Four men are lucky to be alive after they were rescued from a sinking trawler off the south coast of New South Wales on Saturday morning. A rescue chopper was sent out to the scene at Bengunnu Point at Mimoso Rocks National Park, south of Canberra after an alert was sent out by the men at 6.20am on Saturday. The men’s ship allegedly hit rocks in the peninsula causing it to start sinking. A large amount of floating debris of the trawler was found in the waters and on a nearby beach. >click to read<12:56

Trawler tragedy survivor’s poetic tribute to skipper lost at sea

It has been a decade since Michael Williams collapsed on a beach naked, sunburnt and exhausted after a 10-hour swim from a sinking prawn trawler. He managed to help guide rescuers to his crewmate John “JJ” Jarrett, who was eventually saved after more than 30 hours clinging to a red plastic tub off the coast of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. But the boat’s skipper, Alan “Charlie” Picton, was never found. To mark the 10-year anniversary, Mr Williams has released a book of poetry called Sea Rogue (also the name of the sunken trawler), which tells the story of the tragedy and pays tribute to his crewmates. >click to read<12:14

“A privilege to grow old”: Trawler survivor writes book

Ten years after the Sea Rogue prawn trawler sunk, survivor Michael Williams said it is a privilege to get to grow old. Mr Williams has announced that he is releasing a spoken-word poetry book about the tragic events that unfolded, beginning on February 27, 2008.  That fateful day, Mr Williams swam for 10 hours and more than 16kms, after the prawn trawler sunk when its net was caught on the below reef.  Mr Williams told The Daily Examiner in 2014 that crew members John Jarratt (JJ), Alan “Charlie” Picton and himself all had to swiftly escape out of the cabin window. All they had was a red tub to cling onto. >click to read<15:51

Businessmen fined a historic $2 million for overfishing rock lobster

Australian rock lobsters are the best in the world but after they started to disappear from unlimited fishing, the government decided the expensive crustacean was going to be fiercely protected. And that was the expensive lesson a number of Wollongong businessmen learnt yesterday after a judge in the coastal city handed down the biggest fines ever given for illegal fishing in NSW history. The group of men, who were part of the fishing company that engaged in the major scam, the seafood restaurant that bought them and anyone associated with the crime, were fined a whopping $2.1 million. click here to read the story 11:16

Big, new D&D fishing catamaran arrives home in Narooma

The town of Narooma came out in big numbers to greet the big new commercial fishing boat the D&D when it sailed through the bar crossing after its maiden voyage. The 25-metre, state-of-the-art, long-lining catamaran was built for the Abbott family of Narooma and will now be a unmissable fixture at the town wharf. The three siblings, Ryan, Todd and Hayley, still only in their 20s, commissioned the vessel to take their business the next step, to deliver the fresh seafood that they value add, selling it direct out of the factory, at markets and to restaurants. photo’s, click here to read the story 20:32

Gold Coast prawn prices ‘highest in 35 years’ ahead of Christmas according to seafood shops

Seafood lovers have been told to brace for an expensive festive season with Gold Coast prawn prices already at a 35-year high at some retailers. The price of large king prawns, at $40 a kilogram, are already at Christmas peak levels.“I’ve never seen prices this high at this time of year,” said Tasman Star Seafoods co-owner Peter Duncombe. The price hike has been blamed on major reforms in the NSW commercial fishing industry have resulted in fewer prawn boats out on the water, a “fizzer” start to the season for trawlers, and a fallout from the devastating white spot disease which shut down Gold Coast prawn farms this year. click here to read the story 15:45

Drone adds modern twist to an age-old fishing method for fourth generation Eden fisherman

His great grandfather arrived in Eden in the mid 1800s, and each successive generation has entered the fishing industry — from trapping and beach fishing to pioneering the lucrative bluefin tuna fishery using pole and live bait, then later purse seine trawling using light aircraft for fish spotting. After a long career as a commercial fisherman, Mr Fourter has now returned to his childhood passion catching salmon and mullet off the beaches of Twofold Bay and the Eden coast using the traditional beach seine method. He shoots a 300-metre-long net from a 16-foot rowboat around a patch of schooling fish. Excellent video,  click here to read the story 10:05

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