Call for locals only to stop mullet harvest heading north

FOURTH generation Noosa fisherman Trevor Clarey is adamant a blanket ban on commercial net fishing, as proposed by Councillor Frank Pardon, at Noosa North Shore is short-sighted and would only "send the golden nugget swimming north".

Mr Clarey believes a total ban would directly deliver the dollars to be gained from local mullet and tailor catches into the hands of the net licence holders up at Tin Can Bay and a better proposal is to have a limited "locals only" netting harvest.

The latest call by Cr Pardon is no surprise to Mr Clarey, as before the council elections the Teewah-based councillor put out a flyer of promises including the total ban.

Cr Pardon, recently at council, called on the State Government to implement a buy-out and said he wanted his grandkids to be able to catch fish off local beaches.

Mr Clarey said his family pioneered the North Shore ocean beach fishery through to the lagoons at Double Island Point, and he had a similar motivation in wanting local netters looked after.

"I want my sons and grandchildren to have the same opportunity that I had left for me in the enjoyable Noosa River commercial fishing industry," Mr Clarey said.

"To blanket ban that fishery deprives our local fishers of the chance to keep that dollar in the Noosa community."

His message to Cr Pardon was: "The buy-back you propose is a nonsense, for you will reward some who already had a bite of the public cherry."

Mr Clarey said some of the North Shore net licenses belong to Pumicestone Passage net fishermen, and said 10 of those fishermen had previously received a combined $1 million payout down there.

He said removing outside fishermen would end the need for mullet men camping out on the North Shore and put and end to any further anti-social behaviour associated with these gatherings during a four-month netting period.

"Put simply, bring the fishery under local control, as has every council south of Noosa Heads - if you are not a shire rate-paying resident, then you don't get a council permit to work their beaches," Mr Clarey said.

He said local net fishermen could work along the same timelines as Noosa's successful beam trawlers, of 6am-7pm, extended to include weekends.

"This way local fishers are off the beach and home every night, so there is no illegal camping or pooping in the dunes," Mr Clarey said.

His hopes Noosa Council will back his proposal for only one crew, one boat and one vehicle over there for most of the time - possibly two boats as a maximum.

"There are alternatives to that yearly madness, which will profit our Noosa community by not letting that golden nugget swim north from our paradise to the nets and profits of other fishers in other shires," he said.

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