It?s bureaucracy gone mad
By ADRIAN MILLER
PROPOSALS about to be introduced by the NSW Maritime Authority have the potential to seriously endanger the livelihoods of ocean trawl prawn fishermen, an industry spokesman has claimed.
The proposals relate to trawl fishermen with boats under 12 metres in length.
NSW Maritime wants voyages for these vessels limited to 12 hours, or a general purpose hand to be employed on board if a shift is to last longer.
Crew members would also need to complete a Certificate of Competency before being allowed on board.
Ocean Prawn Trawl Management Advisory Council representative Gordon Farrell said if the proposals were implemented in their current form, smaller operators would be put out of business.
"The under 12-metre boat owner, which is primarily a one-man operation, it'll put him out the back door," he said.
A NSW Maritime spokesman said the extra requirements would help ensure safety.
"The Commercial Vessels Draft Crewing Policy is all about safety," he said.
"It is about NSW adopting the principles of a national approach ... to minimise risk for people who work in the industry and for members of the public."
But Mr Farrell disagreed, saying he believed the proposals created more problems than they solved.
"Prawn trawling is done at night, so therefore a 12-hour period means you're going to cross the bar once in the dark, which then becomes a safety issue," he said.
He said a lack of workers was also a problem.
"We're having a lot of trouble getting deckhands now because they've got to have a trawling certificate before they can get on your boat," he said.
"The regulations say you've got to have that certificate before you go, but the blokes just won't do it because it's a week's course at no pay and it costs you to do the course.
"There's three boats tied up in the Clarence ... and there's four in Coffs Harbour because they can't get crew."
Mr Farrell said submissions had been made to NSW Maritime to change the proposals.
"It's not cut and dried yet ... but it doesn't look good for those under 12-metre vessels," he said.