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Monday, July 15, 2024

Gillnet fishing ban still a sore spot for KAP

KATTER’S Australia Party MPs have condemned the State and Federal Governments on the promised special NX licenses that were to be issued after the gillnet fishing bans late last year.

The bans, now active across Australia’s entire east coast, prevent fishers and fishing businesses from using netting.

The licenses were to be available to eligible fishers who could carry on conditional fishing activity until June 2027, hoping to meet market demand for wild caught seafood products.

The NX licenses were meant to partially sustain fishing activities while ensuring a continued supply of locally caught fish while the remainder of commercial fishers not wishing to operate under an NX symbol were expecting to receive ex-gratia payments for up to three years of lost income.

However, a large majority of net fishers have remained on shore as the 2024 barramundi season opened, sparking KAP MPs Bob Katter and Deputy Leader Nick Dametto to again raise their voices over the ban.

“Late last year we pleaded with the Fisheries Minister to hit the pause button on these bans until the government had all their ducks in a row about the buy outs and the NX licence,” Mr Dametto said.

“Now here we are, post 1 February 2024 with no payments made and only a few NX licenses issued.

“The Government has once again demonstrated a disgusting lack of accountability and transparency in its handling of the situation and the dugongs they are claiming to protect would have been no worse off if these bans had just been pushed back another 12 months.”

Mr Dametto claims there hasn’t been a recorded dugong death on the East Coast since 2020 due to gillnet fishing.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Electricity bills shock local business owners and What’s on: Valentine’s Day at Guyala.

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