Licence buy-back concerns lobster industry

THE local rock lobster industry is worried about implications of the government's plan to buy back some licences to compensate for the impact of marine parks.

South Australian Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishermen's Association executive officer Kyriakos Toumazos said there had been initial discussions with Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) that there would be a buy-back but the industry did not know how the government was going to implement it.

The state government expects marine parks to impact on about 1.7 per cent of the state's commercial fishing effort and has committed to buying back commercial fishing entitlements to offset this impact.

The buy-back is expected to start this year and as one of the fisheries expected to be hardest hit, the rock lobster industry is concerned.

Mr Toumazos said the industry had quite a few concerns with regards to the buy-back.

He said a number of commercial licence holders currently leased their quota to other fishers and if those licence holders sold their quota as part of the buy-back the impact would spread to those who had previously leased their quota, raising concerns about the viability of the remaining industry.

"Are we going to keep a viable industry?" he asked.

If the Liberal Party is elected at the next state election there could be changes to sanctuary zones, which could affect the impact on commercial fisheries.

"The Liberals have said in an open statement if they get into power in March 2014 they will revisit all the sanctuary zones and work through fishery by fishery and see if they're still able to operate in these zones," Mr Toumazos said.

The local rock lobster industry is worried about a licence buy-back plan.

The local rock lobster industry is worried about a licence buy-back plan.