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Coral Trout Fishery Under Threat

AUSTRALIA - Fishermen say alarm bells are ringing after the fleet managed only 60 per cent of its coral trout quota this season.

It's the jewel in the crown of Queensland's seafood industry.

But now fishers say lucrative coral trout stocks in Queensland are being put at risk because fisheries managers won't cut the quota, reports ABCRural.

Fishermen say alarm bells are ringing after the fleet managed only 60 per cent of its total allowable catch this season.

But Dr Brigid Kerrigan from Queensland Fisheries says a proposal to temporarily cut the quota is not supported by industry or science - and it could make things worse.

Instead, she's announced a stock assessment of coral trout in the Great Barrier Reef to be completed next year.

"If we reduced that quota by 30 per cent, it would likely have very significant impacts on those fishing businesses that are operating well at the moment.

"Is that the most appropriate step to take, that still needs to be discussed more fully with industry."

But Terry Must - a coral reef fin fish licence holder out of the port of Bowen - says a stock assessment will only confirm what eight years of catch data has already shown.

"You don't have to be an Einstein to work out if you went from 50 fish a day to 12 that the alarm bells should be ringing."

"We're supposed to be a sustainable and profitable industry and we're neither of that today."

"I think a good proposal would be if the State Government buys out 150 tonnes and the Federal Government buys out 150 tonnes."

Lucy Towers

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