18 December 2007
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, announced that a 100 per cent buy-back of Torres Strait Finfish entitlements worth $10.6 million had been successfully completed.
The buy-back was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).
“This will improve the livelihoods of traditional inhabitants of the Torres Strait and allow commercial fishermen to restructure their businesses with appropriate support,” Mr Burke said.
Mr Burke said the announcement delivers on election commitments.
“Finfish licences will now be leased back to commercial operators, allowing their businesses to continue,” he said.
A process for leasing licences secured in the buyout will be established by the TSRA in close consultation with the Australian and Queensland Governments.
“This will also allow for a transitional period where arrangements to enhance the established traditional inhabitant commercial fishing sector can be put in place,” Mr Burke added.
“I want to thank the Queensland Seafood Industry Association and the Torres Strait Community Fisher representatives for their cooperation in achieving this important goal.”
TSRA Chairperson, Mr Toshie Kris, said the 100 per cent buy-back of the Finfish Fishery would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of local Torres Strait Community Fisher Group representatives, with support from the TSRA.
“This is another important step towards Torres Strait Islanders achieving greater ownership and an increased role in the management of the region’s fisheries,” Mr Kris said.