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Fishers say red tape hampering drought aid

By Kate Stephens and Bernadette Young, Friday June 14, 2013 - 11:43 EST

Fishermen in north-west Queensland's Gulf Country say drought assistance for fishermen is over-regulated and drowning in red tape.

Gary Ward, from the Gulf of Carpentaria Commercial Fishermen's Association, says most operators do not apply for drought relief assistance from the State Government because of the lengthy application process.

"It's long, drawn out - we're very isolated - everything has got to be done by snail mail," he said.

"We don't have computers at our fingertips and all that stuff, yes it just puts you off."

Meanwhile, Mr Ward also says categorising Spanish mackerel as sustainable is a lot to do with recent research, rather than a reduction in fishing levels.

The State Government has released its latest fish stock report which shows Spanish mackerel in the Gulf has moved from the 'uncertain' category to 'sustainably fished'.

Mr Ward says in recent years there has been a concerted effort to collecting more data on the fish's stock levels.

"The Davies family on the fishing vessel the 'Wildcard' have done an enormous amount of numbers over a number of years on research into Spanish mackerel in the Gulf," he said.

"They've provided sampling and provided at no remuneration observers to go on their boat - they've done so much work.

"That's all gone to the fact that it is sustainable."


© ABC 2013

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