Gladstone’s harbour has been closed for 21 days.
Gladstone’s harbour has been closed for 21 days. Chrissy Harris

Reps to discuss aid for fishers

REPRESENTATIVES of the commercial fishing industry will this morning call for a special fund to assist fishermen impacted by the fishing ban on Gladstone Harbour.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) CEO Winston Harris yesterday told The Observer he would be meeting Fisheries Queensland this morning and one of the keys points he would raise is the need for financial assistance for commercial fishermen who have had to stop operating on the harbour.

"This is an industry that is effectively being shut down for three weeks," he said. "We need some assistance put in place for these businesses.

"We appreciate why the closure has been put in place, but effectively these guys have got no income for three weeks.

"We'll be making a case strongly tomorrow when we meet with Fisheries Queensland that a fund be established to provide some assistance for these fishers.

"This is a fantastic wild-caught product, and sadly that product is no longer available out of Gladstone Harbour, now that it's closed."

Mr Harris said a number of marine species were being affected by the problem. He declined to comment on what might be causing the disease, which has led to two recreational fishermen being hospitalised. He said test results were the only way to determine the cause.