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Troubled waters: Australian review says there are too many fishers in the sea by Saffron Howden May 25,2012   |  Source: SMH

The biggest overhaul of commercial fishing for two decades in which the Australian government would pay fishers to leave the industry has been proposed by an independent review.

The analysis found about 17 per cent of almost 1100 fishing businesses in New South Wales caught no fish at all.

A ''bold stroke'' involving a huge restructure was needed to address the problems faced by the fisheries, which cover more than 2100 kilometres of coastline, inland waters, rivers, estuaries and open sea.
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The government is expected today to announce structural reforms as a result of the report. It found the expansion of marine parks and recreational fishing havens had reduced wild fish stocks and too many licensed fishers were vying for too few fish.

In 2001 only 113 of 690 water bodies in NSW were open to commercial fishing - 24 of which delivered almost all fish caught commercially.

But seven of the 24 are now set aside for recreational fishers and eight have restrictions on commercial fishing, say the authors, led by Richard Stevens.

There had been a failure to properly implement a 1994 share scheme, which allocated fishing rights that could be traded and sold. These ''shares'' had no real value and too many had been handed out


© 2012 Fairfax Media

Theme(s): Fisheries Resources.

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