Fishermen hold meeting on future

DOWNTURN in the professional fishing industry and the need for more industry-based training will be discussed at a meeting in Coffs Harbour tonight.

Industry and Investment NSW has invited all stakeholders in the Coffs Harbour fishing fleet and associated industries to attend the seminar at the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club from 7pm.

“The gatherings are an opportunity for fishers and their families to come together and hear about the services available from local providers,” event organiser Campbell Trotter said.

“Fishers have been through a tough time lately and these gatherings will provide a chance for them to discuss issues, learn about training opportunities and hear of other services available.

“The professional fishing industry traditionally has been self sustaining.

In speaking with fishers we have found there’s a need for greater training in the industry and the need for fishers to diversify their businesses has also been raised. We hope to show stakeholders what assistance they can access from government and training agencies.”

The impact of the NSW Government’s draft Solitary Islands Marine Park plan is also expected to be raised, on the presumption it could led to further restrictions on prawn trawling.

“In speaking with the Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative it has been raised that the industry could face future downturns and that people might want to get out of the industry or supplement their incomes, these are the issues that will be discussed,” he said.

Professional Fishermen’s Association spokesman John Harrison will attend, voicing professional fishers’ concerns over the future sustainability of the industry.

Representatives from Industry and Investment, North Coast Area Health, the Professional Fishers Association, Centrelink and NSW State Training Services will also be on hand to discuss any issues.

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