LNP’s $8.5m bid to boost fishing

A voluntary fishing licence buyback scheme would be introduced in Queensland as well as a new local seafood labelling system under an $8.5m plan from the LNP to strengthen and sustain the state's fishing industry.

The Sunday Mail can reveal an LNP government would introduce a "ReefSafe" labelling policy for sustainably sourced seafood from the Great Barrier Reef as well as create three new artificial reefs.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP's voluntary licence buyback plan would protect marine life and create "more secure jobs" for commercial fishers.

State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with some Mooloolaba prawns. Picture: Lachie Millard
State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with some Mooloolaba prawns. Picture: Lachie Millard

About $6m would be spent on the buyback, which would prioritise buying back licences for gill nets and licences in an area with the largest population of dugongs in the Great Barrier Reef.

Ms Frecklington said the ReefSafe initiative would also ensure Queenslanders could back businesses that are sustainably sourcing their produce from the Reef.

"The voluntary buyback scheme will target licences in the Cape and provide an important structural adjustment to the industry, while protecting dugongs, marine turtles and other local marine life," the LNP leader said.

"Less nets in the water means less pressure on fish stocks, but it also means more long-term jobs and more profits for fishing businesses."

The proposed artificial reefs would collectively cost $1.5m and their locations would be based on further community consultation.

"The new artificial reefs will create more tourism opportunities for coastal towns and boost local economies through an increase spend from visiting anglers," Ms Frecklington said.

LNP fisheries spokesman Tony Perrett said an LNP government would also partner with the fishing industry to trial labels for wild seafood caught in the Whitsundays and Wide Bay in a bid to encourage Queenslanders to support local fishers.

"A staggering 70 per cent of seafood consumed by Aussies is imported, which means profits and jobs go overseas," he said. "The LNP knows Queenslanders will support local seafood - they just need to be empowered with the information."

Mr Perrett said the licence buyback scheme would incentivise those fishing operators who are ready to leave the industry - providing them with a "dignified pathway" out.

"The buyback scheme will make the fishing industry more economically and environmentally sustainable," he said. "It will secure long-term jobs for existing businesses."

Originally published as LNP's $8.5m bid to boost fishing