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Ului costs fleet millions

Peter Bowman securing his boat Haley in preperation of the bad weather.
Peter Bowman securing his boat Haley in preperation of the bad weather. Scottie Simmonds

WILD weather has ensured the boats in Bundaberg’s fishing fleet are safely tied up at their mooring to wait it out – but at a high cost to their owners.

ASP Holdings trawler operator Seth Parker, whose company operates four trawlers and two fishing boats, estimated he has lost about $200,000 this month because of the weather.

“Every boat on the coast of Queensland is in harbour at the moment,” he said.

“It’s too dangerous, we value the lives of our crewmen too much to send them out in these conditions.”

Mr Parker described the conditions at sea as “horrendous”.

“You’ve got four to five metre waves and a big swell, with continuous white water cresting the swell,” he said.

Mr Parker was unsure when his boats would be able to put to sea again.

“They’re saying the cyclone will hit land on Sunday, so it will probably be next week before we can get the boats back to sea.”

Mr Parker said it was particularly frustrating to have his boats unable to work now.

“March is one of our biggest prawn catches,” he said.

“There’s lots of product out there, we just can’t get to it.”

Mr Parker said the wet weather had hit his fleet hard.

“It’s been a terrible year for rain so far,” he said.

“We’ve got a coral trout boat, but this year it has only been able to do two trips.”

A government compensation program that had been promised had failed to appear.

Mr Parker encouraged consumers to support the industry by buying Queensland-caught seafood.

But he did not expect prices to rise by much.

“This will put prices up a bit, but there’s a fair bit of product carried over,” he said.



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