Rocky fishermen head to Bowen due to net free zones
THERE'S a spot called the Strawberry Patch far off the coast of Bowen, where Terry Must's fishermen catch the reddest coral trout in Australia.
But the live-export fisherman says he's now up against commercial competition from Rockhampton who are making the trip north following the region's move to net-free zones on the weekend.
Mr Must and fellow fisherman Travis Rynn are worried their niche market could be jeopardised.
"We've already had about three guys up from Rocky up here looking around," Mr Rynn said.
"They can't just get another job, they're fishermen, they have to move to somewhere they can fish."
Mr Rynn said the buyback of licences would have been a far more effective way to protect the resource, but believed government opted for zone closures because they had become heavily politicised.
"I see the sense in a buyback. Even if they rotated the closed zones, I could see a sense in that. But just closing a zone for good, it just means other areas will get flogged," he said.