Fishers want fair serve
COFFS HARBOUR professional fishers are appealing directly to the community to join the fight against proposed fisheries closures.
The Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative is handing out fliers detailing threats to the local industry when customers buy fresh seafood.
Fishers are fuming over moves to further restrict fishing off the Coffs Coast.
They claim the Federal Government has identified an area from Brooms Head south to Hat Head for further assessment to create a marine reserve in Commonwealth waters, while the State Government plans to ban prawn trawling in the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
“You are facing a massive loss of local seafood and jobs as commercial fishing is set to become more restricted and prohibited in the waters around Coffs Harbour,” the pamphlet says.
“The commercial fishing industry has completed and operates under an environmental impact study – it is independently assessed by government using the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act.
“The environmental expectations demanded by this act continually rise and the fishing industry meets all its environmental responsibilities, ensuring the supply of sustainable seafood for NSW.
“In 2005, the United Nations Association of Australia environmental award was won by the trawl fishery for the world’s best innovation for by-catch reduction devices.
“The loss of jobs will be devastating for fishers’ staff and the hundreds of families that depend on the fishing industry.”
The flier urges locals and visitors to raise their concerns with NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, John Harrison from the Professional Fishermen’s Association, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.
The co-op is also collecting and forwarding protest letters.