Libs float seafood plan

A LIBERAL seafood and fishing plan that includes more money for research and a ban on new marine reserves has been welcomed by the industry.

Opposition fisheries spokesman Rene Hidding yesterday outlined $2.1 million in spending over several years to support the sector.

The big-ticket items include $500,000 towards the construction of the Fish Health Unit Centre of Excellence project at Mount Pleasant in Launceston, and $500,000 for the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart.

The policy also includes a moratorium on new marine protected areas in Tasmanian waters, an extra $200,000 a year for three years for the shellfish quality assurance program, a $50,000 recreational fishing study to ensure that it is recognised as an industry in its own right and $200,000 to restore the FishWise Trust to the previous method of funding from recreational licence fees.

The policy also promises not to introduce a licence fee for saltwater rod and line recreational fishing, $100,000 a year for three years for a rock lobster translocation project and encouragement for developmental fisheries.

It also promises help to transition commercial fishing  into the digital age, to work with TARfish to develop a sustainable business plan for the peak body and prioritise sewerage and stormwater upgrades where water quality could be affected.

Tasmanian Fishing Industry Council chief executive Neil Stump said the policy was welcome but more needed to be done.

He said funding for IMAS in Hobart was welcome but the institute was vital to the industry being underpinned by science, and its funding growth had previously been restricted.

He said the next state government also needed to remember the importance of biosecurity but a ban on new marine parks would relieve one pressure on the industry.

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