Seal of approval for fishing policy

By ADRIAN MILLER

CLARENCE Valley fishermen have praised the NSW Coalition's announcement of a voluntary buy out scheme for commercial anglers if it wins government at the 2007 election.

The Coalition would spend $36 million over four years to buy professional fishing licences under the policy, enabling fishermen to leave the industry.

It would also establish a 20-year exclusion clause for those fishermen bought out.

Maclean fisherman Barry Johnson said overall it was a good a package, but it had to be followed through.

"It sounds promising, but it's got to come off yet," he said.

"It's a bit like the Grafton bridge, it might sound good before the election, but it's got to be followed up if they win."

Mr Johnson said while the theory behind the package was sound, it did have some problems.

"The one part I don't like about it is puting a 20-year exclusion about coming back into the industry again," he said.

"For example if I take the buy out and in 12 months time I can't find a satisfactory job and I want to go back, why can't I go back?"

Yamba fisherman Robert Toyer said the proposal would benefit the whole community.

"There are gains for the community as a whole should a reasonable buy back system be put up," he said.

Mr Toyer said he hoped the proposal would increase debate on the subject in the immediate future.



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