Commercial fishers say they weren't consulted

QUEENSLAND Seafood Industry Association president Karen Collard has been consulted about changes to the commercial fishing industry more from the opposition than the government.

Ms Collard was shocked when the Labor Party announced their policy to close three areas off the Queensland coast to commercial fishermen, including the area between Curtis Island and the Great Keppel Islands.

She said her association had not been contacted by Labor about the policy before the election or after it.

But three days ago she was contacted by the shadow minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Deb Frecklington.

"We are grateful to Mrs Frecklington for getting in touch but we are hoping to speak to the minister too," Ms Collard said.

"We have contacted Minister Bill Byrne's office - a few times actually - but we are yet to hear back.

"We're just looking to be heard and to express our concerns for the commercial fishing industry."

Mrs Frecklington will go to Townsville to meet Ms Collard next week and discuss how the decision to close areas to commercial fisherman will affect the industry.

She said any changes to commercial fishing should take all stakeholders into account.

"Commercial fishing works alongside recreational fishing and the two shouldn't be pitted against each other," she said.

"I'll be assuring the industry that I understand commercial fishing supports and creates jobs and drives economic growth."

Mrs Frecklington said Labor's policy was a knee-jerk reaction and evidence of the party's negative attitude towards primary producers.

"The LNP puts a major focus on primary industries because we know how important this sector is to our State, as opposed to Labor, which up until the election didn't even have a fishing policy," she said.

"Nobody in the region has been given the opportunity to voice their opinion and the result is we have a group of people who have been left totally in the dark by their new State Government.

"Once again primary industries have been absorbed by super bureaucracy which won't be able to fully focus on this key industry," she said.