“They said to me, ‘it will be great for us, we’ll have all your marks’.
“They said to me, ‘it will be great for us, we’ll have all your marks’.

Fishermen getting salty over ‘sneaky’ satellite monitoring

COMMERCIAL fishermen who fear their secret spots will be stolen under a new vessel tracking system are quitting the industry, accusing the Government of smothering them with red tape.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive Eric Perez said fishermen were abandoning their licences, with a survey last year showing 75 per cent were considering leaving because of vessel monitoring systems (VMS).

"Anecdotally, we've heard that some have left after even more fees and regulations were introduced and we know some have retired that may have stayed longer if not for VMS," he said.

All line, crab and net fishermen were required to install VMS on their vessels from January 1 or risk fines of up to $130,000.

 

A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said vessel tracking had been used in trawl fisheries for 15 years with “no issues with inappropriate release of fishers’ private data”
A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said vessel tracking had been used in trawl fisheries for 15 years with “no issues with inappropriate release of fishers’ private data”

 

Industry anger has intensified after a major security breach of a department database over Christmas and reports of tracking units failing and some catching fire.

The industry claims the monitoring and recording of vessels to within metres provides fisheries officers and up to nine state and federal agencies with access to the data and all their intellectual property.

A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said vessel tracking had been used in trawl fisheries for 15 years with "no issues with inappropriate release of fishers' private data".

"Fisheries Queensland is aware of a small number of faults with some vessel tracking units and is communicating with providers to rectify issues as quickly as possible," he said.

A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said vessel tracking had been used in trawl fisheries for 15 years with "no issues with inappropriate release of fishers' private data".

"Fisheries Queensland is aware of a small number of faults with some vessel tracking units and is communicating with providers to rectify issues as quickly as possible," he said.

Redcliffe line fisherman Shane Card said he had spent years and tens of thousands of dollars discovering about 7000 secret spots marked on his GPS and did not trust government with the data.

"You become a fisheries officer because you're interested in fishing and they're laughing at it," he said.

"They said to me, 'it will be great for us, we'll have all your marks'.

 

 

 

"If they were at least trying to be sneaky about getting it, it wouldn't bother me as much."

Fellow fisherman Luke Lukaszewicz said the tracking data created a blueprint for his business.

"It's like the government asking Coca-Cola for their recipe and saying that they will keep it safe," he said.

LNP agriculture spokesman Tony Perrett said the government was ideologically opposed to commercial fishing and was destroying the industry.

"It's time to conduct a full review into this botched rollout and consider delaying the rollout of VMS until we get to the bottom of this mess.," he said.

A disallowance motion against the regulations was defeated last week in state parliament.