'You'd be mortified if you knew what was going on here'

'MORALLY WRONG”: Noosa councillor Frank Pardon wants to see an end to net fishing on Noosa's Northshore.
'MORALLY WRONG”: Noosa councillor Frank Pardon wants to see an end to net fishing on Noosa's Northshore. John McCutcheon

RESIDENTS would be "mortified" if they knew how destructive net fishing was to Noosa North Shore, a former commercial fisherman claims.

Noosa resident Jackson Ross is not the first to call for a ban on net fishing at the popular spot but became furious when he saw a group of commercial fishermen haul in a school of giant trevally last week.

He said the fish were about 10-15kg each, about breeding size but destined to become "cat food".

"That's not sustainable fishing," he said.

Mr Ross worked in the commercial fishing industry six years ago but quit his job eight months in.

He said he found it "morally wrong".

"I couldn't last," he said.

"Where I was - wasn't Noosa - but it is the same everywhere.

"Commercial fishing used to be around the time when mullet would spawn, breed and move out into the ocean.

"But now, these guys go out almost every day at Noosa and they scoop in big schools of fish - taking a massive portion of marine life out of our systems."

He said the trevally being fished were of a size Mr Ross hadn't seen in the area for at least 10 years.

"The target is mullet but they take everything," he said.

"And the marine life that gets dragged through the nets... by the time it's up, a lot of it is pretty much dead."

Mr Ross and Noosa Shire councillor Frank Pardon have been loud voices in the fight to ban commercial net fishing at Noosa North Shore.

But their strong opinions are not shared by all and the pair have both received several death threats.

The die-hard fishermen believe fighting for the ban would be worth it.

"I get it; these are people's jobs," Mr Ross said.

"They need to make a living too, but these aren't even local guys who are doing it."

Mr Pardon said the council passed a motion twice to ban year-round commercial net fishing, but said the State Government ignored it.

He said the effects of net fishing began to show five years ago, but now the situation was critical.

He believed it was the result of strict bans at other fisheries that caused fishermen to flock to Noosa shores.

"It's one of the only places left and it's being sucked dry," Mr Pardon said.

He said the solution would be to buy out the commercial licences and to restrict net fishing only to mullet breeding season.

"The tourism industry here on the Coast is just so much bigger than commercial fishing," he said.

"People would come from everywhere to fish here and spend thousands doing so.

"The problem with net fishing is that it's perfectly legal - but in 10 years there will be nothing to fish."

A Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said fish stock sustainability was assessed over a broad area, therefore catch rates "from a small area like the Noosa North Shore" would not provide an indication of fish stock sustainability.

"At this point in time, there is no evidence that there are sustainability concerns for fish stocks on Noosa North Shore that would warrant urgent management action," the spokesperson said.

Fisheries Queensland's spokesperson did not provide comment in response to whether any complaints had been made to the department.

Mr Pardon said net fishermen could be seen at Noosa two to three days a week.

"The government doesn't understand; they aren't here on the ground watching it happen," he said.

"The council doesn't have the power to pass these fishing bans but we have been chasing it for so long and no one is listening to us."

Topics:  commercial fishing net fishing net free fishing noosa noosa north shore recreational fishing sunshine coast

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