The state government has extended applications for fishing business buyout payments until September 2 2016 following strong interest from commercial fishers.
Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Lands and Water, Niall Blair, said the decision follows feedback from the industry.
“Over the last few weeks, there has been a steady increase in applications by fishers for the $20,000 fishing business buyouts available under the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program,” the minister said.
“This extension will now give fishers more time to consider their options under the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program and if they wish, apply for a $20,000 fishing business buyout.
“Fishers can apply for a fishing business buyout, online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/commfish”
Laurieton-based commercial fisher Paul Moody says this latest decision only exemplifies how ‘ridiculous this scheme really is'.
“I don’t know why they are doing it (extending the application period). It appears that the government is making it up as they go along,” he said.
“Everything the government is doing is not stacking up against their intended aims.
“It just seems like this is being done on the run … but the underlying intentions to me remain: this is as dodgy as the day is long.
“There is nothing good about this entire process and nothing in there giving us long term security.
“This latest decision just shows that they are finding, more and more, just how ridiculous this scheme really is.”
But Mr Blair said the state government will continue to work alongside commercial fishers and would make ‘key adjustments to the program as required’.
He said the state government had recently announced it would extend the Interim Total Commercial Access Levels (ITCAL) from 2019 until 2024 to provide greater certainty for fishers to invest in their businesses.
“In direct response to feedback from fishers, the government will also bring forward linkage arrangements in the Ocean Hauling and Estuary General fisheries to allow for the use of unendorsed crew and additional traps from now rather than 2017,” he added.
He said the state government will continue to work with the industry and deliver a program that will give NSW commercial fishing businesses more certainty and build a strong foundation for the long-term viability and sustainability of the industry.