1. What is the petition about?
Our petition is calling to stop the ban on commercial net fishing and open recreation-only areas in the Mackay region.
2. Which areas are affected?
St Helen’s Beach – Cape Hillsborough, North of Mackay.
Yeppoon / Keppel Bay / Fitzroy River, Capricorn.
Trinity Bay, Cairns.
3. How does this affect the consumer?
60% of the fish we sell at Debbie’s Seafood comes from the areas mentioned above.
If our fishermen can’t fish there, that would mean less choice of local fish for the customer and more imported fish.
90% of the community in Mackay do not fish for recreation and rely on places like Debbie’s Seafood for their fresh fish and seafood.
4. Is all of your seafood local?
About 90% of the fish we bring into the shop is from the Mackay region.
The rest of our fish is either from New Zealand or Tassie.
5. Net fishing. Isn’t that damaging to the environment? Doesn’t everything get caught in the net?
Commercial fisheries use specific nets to target specific species and the nets are a specific weight, depending on the species. With barramundi, for example, our fishermen have adopted a practice that is currently practiced in the gulf, where the maximum sized net is 6.5 inches. Any smaller fish will simply swim right through.
Commercial fishing is heavily regulated paying particular attention to fishing seasons, weekend closures, legal sizes of fish, green and yellow zones.
6. What are green and yellow zones?
Green zones are a no-go zone for both recreational fishermen and commercial fishers.
Yellow zones are a no-go area for commercial fishers except when they are catching bait to which they would use a much smaller sized net. The bait of course, then becomes available for recreational fisherman or commercial line fishers.
7. Don’t turtles and dugongs get caught?
Net entanglements in turtles are relatively rare and they are often able to shake free from the nets alive. Commercial fishermen have done an Endangered Species course enabling them to resuscitate turtles if required anyway. Besides, most responsible fishers generally know which areas the turtles feed in. Regarding dugongs, sightings and interactions are rarer than turtles. The highest risk areas for potential interactions are in seagrass areas and local fishers generally know areas that they frequent and avoid the area.
If you buy your fish at a shop or a market and you live in the Mackay area, this could affect your choice of fish in the future.
You can sign our petition, by clicking on this link:
If you want to hear 4MK chats with Mark Ahern , click here:
If you want to hear more about our meeting with our local MP, click here: