QUEENSLAND prawn fishermen can rest a little easier after the announcement of the Federal Government's coral sea protection plan.
On Thursday, Environment Minister Tony Burke released the plan, providing a long section on the inner edge of the Coral Sea protection area that will allow for prawn trawling.
Geoff Tilton from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) said the government had listened to their concerns.
"We're about 80% happy with the decision," he said. "On the original maps in consultation there was no allowance for prawn trawling.
"In past performances by various governments no one has listened to us ... (so) fishermen have been waiting since February and it's been a bit of stress.
"You can understand the apprehension of losing multi-million-dollar fishing grounds with a high-grade premium product but we've managed to hang onto it."
He said they had lost some unexplored ground.
"We would've liked a little bit bigger area for expansion - there's some crayfish we may have had access to.
"But the industry's lobbying has achieved a reasonable outcome."
Stephen Murphy of Murphy Operator Pty Ltd told the Morning Bulletin on Monday that he might have to reconsider his entire business pending the plans, but he seemed reasonably content with the new plan.
"It pretty much covers all the ground we work," he said.
"It's just a shame that we've lost good ground we could still fish sustainably - it's a renewable resource going to waste."
Recreational fishing will be unaffected
Oil and gas exploration will be excluded completely in the Coral Sea protection zone
A section of the Coral Sea near Swain Reef has been left open to allow for trawling of high-grade prawns
Compensation will be offered for affected fishermen around the country