Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Prawners Fear a Port Squeeze

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Prawners Fear a Port Squeeze

Article excerpt

Chris Lees

chris.lees@dailymercury.com.au

INCREASED shipping activity could wipe out Mackay's prawn fishery, a local fisherman has warned.

Danny Pope, an owner/operator of a prawn trawler, said it was a definite risk.

He said a proposal by the Mitchell Group to use barges to move coal from the port of Hay Point could potentially lead to prawning grounds being closed to trawlers.

Although Mr Pope admitted he was not completely across the proposal he said it was concerning, as coal spillages could also harm the fishing grounds.

"Anything on the ground like that is going to affect us," he said.

If grounds were lost, Mr Pope said it would be unfeasible to work in the area.

Commercial fisherman and Mackay Reef Fish Supplies manager David Caracciolo said if the proposal went ahead it could potentially lead to an exclusion zone around the area.

"That would stop all commercial boats and trawlers, that's 80% of Mackay prawn production at Hay Point," he said. …

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