FOCAL POINT: Commercial and recreational fishing centre, Tin Can Bay is the focus of concern over planned new rules for the ocean and estuary fishing industry.
FOCAL POINT: Commercial and recreational fishing centre, Tin Can Bay is the focus of concern over planned new rules for the ocean and estuary fishing industry. Craig Warhurst

How new fishing rules will determine what Gympie eats

NEW top-to-bottom reforms of fishery management in Queensland will move into top gear next month, after the close of public submissions on Monday week.

Some Cooloola Coast fishing interests say they fear a hidden privatisation agenda which could see Queenslanders lose ownership of the state's wild fish resource.

And they fear public submissions will not carry any weight with the government on issues which they say fisheries bureaucrats have been pushing for years.

Changes already in place include jail time for anyone circumventing the new market controls by selling on the black market, spy drones to expand surveillance of people engaged in commercial and recreational fishing tracking devices on vessels and floating lures intended to attract "sustainable” species for recreation.

A 27-page discussion paper, available at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au claims the planned changes will help commercial fishers have "reduced competition for the resource,” which fishing interests claim is code for getting rid of some of them.

It also claims they will "gain a range of social and economic benefits, increased certainty of access (and) continued access to export markets by maintaining Wildlife Trade Operation accreditation”.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said fishing would be "less of a risk to ecosystems and fish stocks would be healthier, more resilient and able to support a range of commercial, recreational and cultural pursuits.”

One prominent Tin Can Bay fishing identity said the government seemed to have ignored complaints about the plans.