John McCutcheon

Prawn trawler cut affects Sydney

COFFS Harbour king prawns are in such high demand in Sydney that should the $16 million local seafood industry lose its prawn trawlers, the Sydney Fish Market would suffer what it calls “a devastating loss in profits.”

Grahame Turk, the managing director of the largest fish retail outlet in the Southern Hemisphere, swears by Coffs Harbour’s wild harvest seafood produce.

Mr Turk is equally concerned to hear the draft review could impact on the Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Cooperative, which sends 60 per cent of its catch to market.

“All I can say is that if the proposal goes through as its stands, commercial fishing on the mid and north coasts would be decimated,” Mr Turk said.

“The Coffs Harbour Co-op here in Sydney is renowned for producing high quality, high value species like snapper and king prawns, so please can the government tell us why are they politicising and threatening a sustainable industry just for votes?

“If we were to lose the Coffs Harbour caught king prawns there would be no substitute, where would we get them?

“Sure there’s no end to Sydney’s demand for them at the moment that’s why we take what we can get but supply is all within reason because it’s all about sustainability,” he said.

Mr Turk said scientific proof that fish stocks were under pressure was flawed based on the seafood industry’s own environmental impact studies.

He said damage to reef systems is more affected by land based activities than commercial fishing.

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