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Fishers seek court declaration on scampi QMS

Phil Heatley National Fisheries Spokesman

6 June 2004

Fishers seek court declaration on scampi QMS inclusion

Scampi fishers that the Parliamentary inquiry recommended be paid ex gratia for wrongs by the Ministry of Fisheries are now seeking a court declaration, says National's Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

The declaration, sought by United Fisheries and Trevor Goodship, is to ensure the Minister of Fisheries does not proceed in introducing scampi into the Quota Management System while the Minister and his Ministry are stalling ex gratia payment negotiations with the wronged scampi fishers.

Mr Heatley said that since the Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry released its findings 6 months ago, the Minister has made little progress addressing the Inquiry's ex gratia payment recommendation for a number of fishers.

"Both the Parliamentary and State Services Commission scampi inquiries highlighted past inconsistency and poor administration of scampi resources.

"In fact, the Commissioner's report went so far as to call the former Ministry 'inconsistent, haphazard, unprofessional and ad hoc' in its dealings with fishers.

"But if fishers are still frustrated, and the Ministry is still dragging the chain, what has changed?"

Mr Heatley says these fishers have gone through a huge ordeal, they were found to have been wronged, and now the Minister, who's failing to fulfil the recommendations of the inquiry, is dragging out their reparation unnecessarily.

"Now the Ministry and the scampi fishers are going back to the courts - where they started off over a decade ago.

"Is it any wonder fishers are calling it the 'decade of denial'," Mr Heatley said.

Ends

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