Mayor: barramundi fishing should be a tourism staple

Mayor Margaret Strelow weighs into net-free fishing bans in the Fitzroy River argument:

THE word barramundi came from the Dharumbal language and we have plenty of them - in a good year over 100 tonne of fighting barra flows down the Fitzroy River.

I've heard both sides of the current debate many times over the years, and I can certainly appreciate that the argument is not one-sided.

In fact every time the matter of removing nets from the river is raised, well-organised lobbying begins.

And it is always easier to talk about what we could lose than it is to quantify what we gain if nets were removed from the Fitzroy.

When I look at the number of barramundi charter boats operating out of Townsville, I know there are definitely jobs that will come from charter fishing and every piece of research that's been done on tourism teaches us the value of new money into the region.

And of course in Rockhampton we don't need to hop in a boat to catch a barramundi. I've heard of people catching large barra straight off the sand wharf.

For me the argument is more than just trying to count jobs one way or the other - although that is a critical part of our decision-making.

If we are serious about encouraging tourism and building on our extraordinary quality of life and attractiveness as a place to live and work and do business, then a river city needs to maximize recreational opportunities including recreational fishing along its river.

To me it's part of a complete lifestyle package.

And we need good fish stocks to last the full season.

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