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Fisherman’s “scallop testing plan” must be part of Government response to Gladstone seafood crisis
Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, after meeting this week with Burnett commercial fishermen atTurkey Beach, has called on the Bligh Labor government to immediately support a plan to test harvest scallop grounds south of Gladstone.
Professional fisherman Scott Hodgetts has made an offer for the government to place a fisheries officer and a scientist onboard his trawler while he carries out an early test trawl of scallop ground which aren’t due to open until the First of November.
Scott Hodgett’s commonsense plan will do two very important things:
1) Provide important scientific information, which will prove just how far south the Gladstone seafood crisis has expanded.
2) Prove that scallop grounds south of Gladstone are still viable and haven’t been destroyed.
“Burnett professional fishermen understand just how serious the Gladstone seafood crisis is. I’ve spoken to one local fisherman who says he has never seen this sort of environmental disaster in 42 years,” Mr. Messenger said.
"They want reliable scientific information collected quickly. They also want the government to acknowledge that any scientific study will be more accurate and significantly enhanced by the input of local pro-fishers," he said.
Mr Messenger has also called on the state government to speed up compensation payments for all professional fisher families affected by this unprecedented environmental disaster.
"The government compensation payments need to be just and timely," Mr Messenger said.
"All professional fisherman and small businesses affected by the Gladstone fishing closures and depending on the pro and recreational fishing industries are losing money and going broke very quickly… they need help now!,” he said.