21 August, 2021
Funding boost for local fishermen
THERE is a joke in many a Mackay household, that if the weather turns bad or you have a slack day on the water then you can head down to Scratch at Mackay Reef Fish Supplies and still bring home a feed. You just needn’t elaborate on where you “caught” your haul! David Caracciolo - or Scratch as he’s known - took Mackay Local News reporter Jacoob Cumner on a tour of his River Street business and what you see are wares brought to market by local professional fishers. These fish - grunter, barra, queen fish, blue salmon, coral trout and even a good old diamond-scaled mullet - are destined for the restaurants and dining room tables of the Mackay region.
THE Palaszczuk Government has placed more than $1.4 million on the line for the state’s fishers in an expanded round of the popular fishing grants program. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said recreational fishers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, local councils, and commercial and charter fishers could apply now to hook the grants.
“Funding through the fishing grants aligns with the Government’s Sustainable Fisheries Strategy of building a legacy of sustainable fisheries for our children and grandchildren,” Mr Furner said.
“Investing more than $1.4 million in Queensland’s fishing industry recognises the impact COVID-19 has had on this multi-faceted industry. “The industry supports more than 3000 jobs across the state, so maintaining these jobs is an important part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan “These grants will be welcomed by an industry that is part and parcel of our way of life and is important to the broader community.
“Making this funding available continues the Palaszczuk Government’s record of supporting fishing activities across all parts of the state’s fishing industry, an industry that supports jobs in many sectors of the economy.” Mr Furner said the grants, provided under three programs, would fund a range of community fishing projects to enhance recreational and traditional fishing across the state, and support the commercial and charter fishing industry.
“Under Queensland’s Community Fishing Grants Program, $250,000 is available for community-based not-for-profit organisations, fishing clubs and incorporated associations, for activities such as fishing clinics, research, promoting recreational fishing or fish habitat improvement,” he said.
“Additionally, local and regional councils can apply for a total of $949,000, provided by the Federal Government, for the Fishing Infrastructure Grants Program for projects that benefit recreational fishing, boating or camping in Queensland. “And $250,000 has been allocated to the Commercial and Charter Fishing Grant Program to fund activities that modernise fisheries management in Queensland by promoting industry innovation and best practice.
“This includes projects to trial alternative gear, like bycatch reduction devices; develop and promote codes of practice; and industry-led campaigns to promote sustainable seafood and commercial fisher well-being.”
Mr Furner said expressions of interest for the grants would be accepted until 11 September 2021. “I encourage anyone interested in applying for this funding to act quickly as previous rounds of these funding programs have proven to be very popular,” he said.
“A total of 61 applications were received during the expression of interest process for the 2020-21 grants programs, with 24 projects successfully funded. “Those projects included children’s fishing clinics, social inclusion fishing programs, recreational fish tagging, habitat restoration and fishway barrier remediation.”
Full details of application criteria and how to apply can be found at www.daf.qld.gov.au/ business-priorities/fisheries.