Support a Net Free Zone- From Seaforth to St Helens
Find out more at www.netsoutqld.org
In 1998 Marine Biologists conducted a yearlong study into the fish species of Murray Creeks, St Helens Creek and the Pioneer River. The report concluded that there were 37 species of fish in the pioneer river and 97 in Murray Creek/ St Helens Creek.
The Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance represents recreational fishers from the Mackay area. It is our mission is to make Mackay the fishing destination of Queensland.
From the State Governments election policy platform:
The LNP is committed to the health and wellbeing of our fisheries and will undertake a $9 million voluntary buyback program in consultation with the industry. The buyback will target large mesh and gill nets with a special focus on important recreational fishing locations and areas of high conservation value.
We are currently in round two of the buy back process. Sunfish Queensland sort submissions for Net Free Zones, of which 12 locations were proposed for consideration. Sunfish Queensland nominated to Government, three priority areas, namely Albatross Bay, Trinity Inlet and Keppel Bay (hence our divorce from Sunfish Queensland).
A Net Free Zone from St Helens to Seaforth would:
· Establishment a much-needed recreational fishing tourism industry. This means Queenslanders wont need to travel to the Northern Territory for a once in a lifetime fishing experience.
· Support the Mackay community by providing an abundant supply of pristine fish habitat to enjoy for recreational fishing, now and into the future.
What compliments our Net Free Zone is:
· Our local impoundment’s have been stocked with Barramundi and Sooty Grunter thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Mackay Fishing Stocking Group.
· Fisheries Queensland will be re-introducing stocked Jungle Perch into the Pioneer River
· A large portion of this proposed Net Free Zone is currently yellow, meaning net free. This was applied by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park during its Representative Areas Program.
Frequently asked Questions
Q.- What about commercial fishers.
A. – We have always been on record that any commercial fishers who are displaced be financially compensated. Currently there is a $9 million dollar commercial net buy back, the government’s plan is to remove 50% of the existing N1 N2 ( inshore nets ) on the east coast ( Noosa to the cape ) this has the full support of the QSIA – Queensland Seafood Industry.
The purpose of this is to improve the financial viability of commercial netters and to increase fish stocks.
Q. What about local commercial fishers at Seaforth
A. 1/3 of our proposed net free zone is currently yellow under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning protection. our proposal is inclusive of all the creeks ( isn’t that a great idea ) also we have extended the outer line north to Dewaars Point ( northern end of St. Helens bay ) commercial fishers can net on the outside, similar to what exists at the Mackay Harbour – you can’t fish or net the harbour, but commercial netters can fish outside.
Q. The commercial fishers will move into our area ( I have been asked that many times )
A. Commercial fishers can fish anywhere from Noosa – to the tip of the cape, however they usually work where they have local knowledge. What is equally as important is the lack of fishing inspectors in our region THREE – same as 1974. And they have to work in pairs to be effective – that is why the yellow zone at Seaforth is netted extensively, you need local knowledge at night. Unlicensed netters are also our problem (fish thieves) who takes the risk because the chance of getting caught is remote at best. – We have had three reports in the past month. – That is just the tip of the iceberg!
Q. What about local seafood.
A. The catch data from fisheries is due late this year, but we do have catch graphs for ......... years which indicate an alarming decline in catch when measured to effort. (We can email that on request). When we met with Jason Costigan, the first question he asked was – how many members do you have (so he could measure any votes) and where will consumers buy their fresh fish. Two hours before the meeting we went to Coles, Woolworths and IGA who collectively dominate the food market in Australia, there were 29 fresh seafood products on display only 3 Australian products ; farmed barra, Tasmania salmon and mullet fillets, historically most fresh local caught fish is consumed by the angler who caught it. Research has shown that recreational anglers have an expectation of catching a feed of fish that is the primary reason they go, followed by relaxation.