We have to buy our jobs back’: outrage over commercial fishing reforms in the Hunter

THE OPPOSITION has demanded the State Government press pause on controversial reforms to the commercial fishing industry, it claims will force fishers to “borrow money to buy shares to do the job they already do”. 
The changes would take money out of fishers’ pockets and there was no guarantee shares would be available for them to buy. 
“This is where it’s so unfair. We have to buy our jobs back.” 
During a visit to Stockton on Friday, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch also described it as “ludicrous” to be asking fishers around Williamtown to be investing in more shares while they are still locked out of contaminated waterways at Fullerton Cove and upper Tilligerry Creek. 
Mr Veitch met with a group of about 20 fisherman to protest the reforms, which are due to come into effect in July next year. 
They will introduce minimum shareholdings – meaning smaller players could be squeezed out of the industry unless they buy more shares – and link fishing rights to catch levels. 
One veteran of the industry, John Verdich, estimated the changes would cost him $120,000. “That’s just to get back to what I’m doing,” he said.  

Mr Veitch said the industry was suffering from “reform fatigue” and fishers had not been adequately consulted about the changes, telling stories that would bring “tears to your eyes”. 
“They’re mainly family operations, they’re family-run businesses,” he said. “They’re not big enterprises, they’re not your John West-style trawlers. Just look at their boats, they’re tinnies. 
“These are hardworking individuals, who are being done over by government.

“Let’s hit the pause button.” 
Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said the reforms were the final blow for the fishers who lost their fishing grounds near Williamtown 12 months ago. 

“The fishers here in Newcastle and the Hunter, they’ve got to contend with a contamination epidemic, they’ve also got the share debacle and quite a few of the Stockton fishers have their main marina just down the road here, that looks like it may well be closed as well. 

“It’s devastating,” he said. 
Eric Glen from Anna Bay has been fishing since 1989 and said he was worried about additional restrictions that would only allow him to fish for 90 days. 
He said a spell of bad weather could mean he would have to work 24 hours a day to make up his catch. 
“I’m not quite as active as I was as a younger man,” he said. 
He said the changes would take money out of fishers’ pockets and there was no guarantee shares would be available for them to buy. 
“This is where it’s so unfair. We have to buy our jobs back.” 
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4108077/we-have-to-buy-our-jobs-back-fishers/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s