Prawn trawlers face tough times

SECOND generation Coffs Harbour prawn trawler Russell Kerr knew change was on the horizon, but he just didn’t think it could cost him his livelihood.

Mr Kerr and Coffs Harbour’s 45 other remaining commercial fishers have stocked the Fishermen’s Co-op with wild harvest seafood since the 1970s.

Returning to port yesterday, they knew trouble was brewing.

Word had got out about the State Government’s draft plan to improve the management of the Solitary Island Marine Park.

So once their early morning king prawn catches were unloaded, trawler fishermen gathered to discuss the changes on the waterfront.

The focus of their talk was an outright ban of prawn trawlers in the Solitary Island Marine Park and possible commercial fishing licence buy backs.

“Why would I want to sell my fishing licence to the government, they’re broke so I’m not holding much hope of that happening,” Mr Kerr said.

Mr Kerr says Coffs Harbour’s fishermen remain hopeful the government will see reason and find a working balance between industry and conservation.



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