MUGGED: One of many long-nosed fur seals near the Tauwitchere Barrages that are causing the need for fisherman to seek financial aid from government, according to local members of parliament Tony Pasin and Jamie Briggs.With“half of the industry on the edge of bankruptcy”, local members of parliament request financial aid for Coorong fishermen.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin and Member for Mayo Jamie Briggs have requested accessto the Farm Household Allowance for the fishermen of the Lower Lakes and Coorong.
Mr Pasin and Mr Briggs spokewithMinister for Agriculture and Water ResourcesBarnaby Joyce to extend the initial request for aid from the Southern Fisherman Association.
According to Mr Pasin, state government has refused to facilitate a sustainable harvest of theseals, “despite calls to do so from across the political spectrum”.
“The destruction caused by these seals to fish stocks and fishing equipment has resulted in unprecedented financial hardship to the members of the Southern Fishermen’s Association,” he said.
Mr Pasin said many of the fishermenhave no alternative source of income.
President of the Southern Fisherman Association Gary Harrison said the financial aid would create short-termbreathing space for struggling fishermen.
“We wrote to Barnaby Joycebecause wild catch fishers do not receive household assistance butbills keep mounting –I’m working 100 days more a year andstill not making money,” he said.
“I’m concerned for at least seven businesses who will not survive the year.”
Mr Harrison stressed the need for a net fee release.
“People can no longer afford the $200 nets when they’re damaged and destroyed every day,” he said.“It’s like getting mugged every day of the week.”
Coorong Wild Seafood co-owner TracyHill said their income has halved since the seals arrived.
“We have two licenses worth $90,000 and people would not pay $1 for them now,” she said.
Mr Briggs said withoutfinancial aid,many fishermenwillpetition for bankruptcyand “forgo their fishing license in order to claim unemployment benefits”.
A spokesperson for Barnaby Joyce said he is advised wild catch fishermen operating in shared waters fall outside the legislated definition of farmers eligible for assistance under Farm Household Allowance at this stage.
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