Bill Byrne is in the sights of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association.
Bill Byrne is in the sights of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association.

MPs implored to be ‘voice of reason’ over net fishing ban

WHAT future is planned for the state's commercial fishing industry?

That is the question Queensland Seafood Industry Association president Karen Collard is asking of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Bill Byrne, as the organisation looks for more consultation on the net-free zone policy.

Ms Collard yesterday called upon all Members of Parliament to question the process taken to implement net-free zones; calling it "heavy handed".

"There is little time before proposed implementation in November and parliament sitting next week, Minister Bill Byrne will need to table regulations soon," she said.

"With no transparent process or collaborative engagement, the commercial fishing industry is questioning what future, if any, the Minister is planning for this primary industries sector?"

According to the QSIA, Mr Byrne and his department have abandoned round-table inclusive meetings and transparent engagement with single-minded resolve and faceless electronic survey responses.

The association is hoping the integrity of the parliamentary process and voices of reason within the chamber will provide the balance and checks that have so far been disregarded.

Ms Collard said four commercial fishermen in Rockhampton had been told the net-free zones were a done deal during individual meetings this week.

Rockhampton commercial fisherman Keith Harris said the meeting with the Minister was quite intimidating, with Mr Byrne flanked by two advisers and two senior Fisheries managers from Brisbane.

"The Minister was not interested in discussing the matter and many questions were answered with 'it is an election promise'," he said.

The Morning Bulletin contacted Mr Byrne on the issue, however he declined to comment.


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