Fishermen furious over snapper ban

COMMERCIAL and recreational snapper fishing will be banned in Queensland between February 15 and March 31 as the State Government looks to preserve low stocks.

The six-week ban announced last month is in response to State Government reports from 2006 and 2009, which show a steady decline in snapper stock.

The plan will be temporary while the State Government decides what course of action to take in future, with an annual ban and the introduction of snapper fishing permits tipped as possible options.

However the plan has not been welcomed by the commercial and recreational community, with many calling for the plan to be abandoned.

One of those is Joe Palermo, owner of Menniti Seafoods at Tweed Heads, who said the plan was unrealistic and poorly thought out.

“They would never be able to police it,” he said.

“Who is going to patrol the border and decide where you can and can't fish?

“Which species of snapper is going to be banned?

“I can name 20 species off the top of my head. Will they all be banned or just some of them?”

Mr Palermo was particularly concerned about the impact a ban could have on local fishermen who would have a forced six-week holiday.

He said with Queensland snapper unavailable, stock would need to be imported from elsewhere and prices for the consumer were likely to increase as well.

“They talk about supporting the local industry, then they go and make stupid rules like this,” he said.

“Our best-selling fish is Queensland goldband snapper – we would sell 500-1000kgs of it a week and restricting access to it is only going to lead to higher prices for the consumer and more imported goods.

“It's a loss for everybody,” Mr Palermo said.

With the Queensland Government unlikely to reverse its decision, fishermen will be looking to make the most of the next five weeks as seafood shops look to load up with Queensland stock before the ban.

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