Commercial beach netting for fish may become a thing of the past if a Noosa councillor has his way.
Commercial beach netting for fish may become a thing of the past if a Noosa councillor has his way. Warren Lynam

Councillor's $1m push to ban beach fishing

A NOOSA councillor will make a bold bid to use up to $1 million of his council's environmental levy to buy out the licences of commercial beach fishermen.

Councillor Frank Pardon said commercial net fishing from the shire's beaches and waterways was at odds with Noosa's biosphere status and the Noosa brand which drove tourism as its major industry.

Cr Pardon said there had been no action flowing from an East Coast Fin Fishing Report that had recommended the buy-out of professional fishing in Noosa and on the North Shore beaches abutting the Ramsar-listed Great Sandy Strait wetland and Cooloola Recreation Area and Great Sandy National Park.

Do you think commercial net fishing should be banned at Noosa?

This poll ended on 13 August 2016.

Current Results

Yes, it can't be good for the environment.

62%

No, they have the licence so should be able to do it.

29%

I think it should be allowed but strict limits enforced.

8%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

He said the time had come for Noosa to act on its established policy to bring commercial netting to a close and to push the outcome with the state government.

Cr Pardon's call comes as the State Government on Friday announced the second round of voluntary licence buybacks for commercial fishers associated with the State's new net-free fishing zones.

Fisheries Minister Leanne Donaldson said after detailed consultation with stakeholders the next round of licence buybacks would start on Monday.

"Three net-free zones at Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton were introduced on November 1, last year, as part of the sustainable fishing election commitment," she said.

"We have delivered on our promise to implement net-free zones and to take advantage of the tourism potential of fishery resources."

The government has set aside $10 million to help commercial fishers adjust to the introduction of the net-free zones.

Cr Pardon said Noosa Council needed to sit down with the Minister and offer to put up between $500,000 and $1 milkion out of the environment levy to help fund a buy-out.

He said the strict guidelines around use of levy funds for the purpose would require a policy amendment because its focus was solely on land acquisition.

But while he supported the need for strict caveats around the use of the money, in his mind protection and regeneration of fish stocks fit was appropriate.

"Commercial fishing is not sustainable," Cr Pardon said.

He said recreational fishing on well-stocked beaches would provide greater economic benefit, would assist tourism and should be supported.

Cr Pardon said the entire North Shore beach from Noosa to Fraser Island was covered by biosphere designation.

A ban on beach netting was a central theme of Labor's federal candidate Lucy Stanton's election campaign in Wide Bay, a seat that has Noosa as its southern flank.

Cr Pardon said he would bring a report to Noosa Council within the next two months to address the issues.

He also called for changes to bag limits to restrict the harvesting of pippies by amateurs from North Shore beaches, saying in his view they may be too high.

Cr Pardon said he would prefer to see a per car bag limit, citing recent incidents where two adults and five children in a vehicle had collected 50 pippies each which were then removed from the beach.