VIDEO: Fishermen fight to save their livelihood at forum

GRAHAM Stevenson has spent the past 44 years of his life fishing and he can't imagine life without it.

Graham, 62, and his wife, Margaret, 58, were protesting at yesterday's community cabinet forum against the State Government's proposed net free zones.

"We don't want these net free zones, it's going to put fishermen out of work and shut down an industry that's been well established for years," Graham said.

The commercial fisherman works along the coast from Bundaberg to the Fitzroy River and says there is no need for net free zones to be introduced.

"We've had other regulations like green zones and gear restrictions already put on us," Graham said.

"We thought everything was under control and now we have these new net free zones."

Graham and his family would see a loss of income if the net free zones came into play and it's not a move the couple can afford.

"What do you do when you have boats invested in the industry," Graham said.

"I've been educated in safe food courses and endangered species courses, now am I supposed to go away after all of this."

The fisherman and his wife, who have 10 children, said it would be upsetting not only for them but for their son who is a keen fishermen.

"My 21-year-old son is coming up in the ranks, he'll have to change career as well," Graham said.

"It's taking away the hopes and aspirations of our children who want to fish and follow in dad's footsteps."

Graham doesn't believe net free zones will provide the boost to tourism that the state government is hoping for.

"Charter businesses and recreational fishing businesses aren't more successful than they already are, it means there's no demand," he said.

"If they get rid of us and tourism doesn't pick up like they plan, then communities have lost a really important industry."

The community cabinet forum provided some hope for the fishing industry when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addressed their concerns.

Ms Palaszczuk told the forum she would listen to the commercial fishers and consult before any changes.

"The community has spoken, they want to be consulted more and that's what they will get," she said.



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