Final days: Fresh caught barramundi off the menu

26 October 2023

By this time next week the barramundi season will be closed on Queensland’s east-coast and with gill net bans coming into effect on 31 December, this is the last week many commercial fishers will operate.

The future of hundreds of affected fishers and their families remains in jeopardy as the State Labor Government knuckles down on its commitments to UNESCO and drags out announcing what structural adjustment packages will be offered to those fishers who will soon be banned from their fishing activities.

The Future Fisheries Taskforce who were considering what the structural adjustment packages should look like, concluded their deliberations in September and are continuing to finalise their report to Government with their recommendations.[1]

Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto said parts of his electorate and other areas of North Queensland would soon bear the full brunt of these fishing cut backs and the effects would be far reaching and detrimental.

“The Government often refers to the few hundred commercial fishing licence holders that will be impacted by these bans but the flow on effect goes well beyond that and will be felt by the industries that supply and support those fishers as well,” he said.

“We’re talking about the local fish and chip shops, the ice makers, the boat and vessel mechanics, deckhands, transport companies, the list goes on, they’re all going to be the losers here.

“During Parliament this week I asked the Fisheries Minister through a Question on Notice to confirm when the Government would be handing down their decision.[2]

“There are people out there right now that don’t know if they can afford to pay their mortgage next month, maintain their vessels and other business assets or even afford to send their kids to school next year.

“The department has acknowledged that these changes will severely impact commercial fishers financially and psychologically, and it’s pretty offensive for them to offer mental health support and advice to those impacted yet the Government will happily leave them hanging in limbo in the lead up to Christmas and hold out on handing down their decisions.

“Minister Furner has two choices here. Either continue displaying his arrogance and lack of compassion for the industries under his portfolio, or step up and hand down the Government’s decision as a matter of priority to either way, give these people some certainty.

“We’re coming into Christmas, a time when Queenslanders are lining up to enjoy our fresh local seafood. This time of year should be when commercial fishers are celebrating the peak of the season, instead they are currently waiting on grinch Furner to hand down a UNESCO shit sandwich.”

The Minister’s response to the Question on Notice is due to be handed down on 24 November 2023. The Hinchinbrook MP has also requested a meeting with the Minister during the week commencing 13 November 2023. The meeting is yet to be confirmed by the Minister’s office.

The parliamentary petition, due to close on 10 November 2023 is calling on the State Government to: “work with industry to develop a balanced solution that protects the Great Barrier Reef whilst also allowing sustainable fishing practices, including N2 inshore gillnet licences. For those fishers exiting the industry, they must be properly reimbursed for the resumption of their business enterprises.”

The petition can be found and shared here:




Photo: KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto.

Media Enquiries: Catherine Holden – 0416 817 333


Nick Dametto MP