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South-East Rock Lobster Industry

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (14:58): A supplementary: can the minister advise, of the licence holders for crayfish licences, how many of those licence holders are still fishing and how many have stopped?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:58): I thank the honourable member for his question. From the notes from the meeting, I think most of them had stopped but there are some starting to fish again. I don't know the exact numbers of the fishers that haven't been fishing. I am just checking my notes here for the honourable member. There are 243 commercial fishing licences in the fishery, broadly across the whole state. I don't have the numbers of ones that are not fishing but there are about 330 tonnes of the annual quota that's not caught—about 180 tonnes in the southern zone and about 150 tonnes in the northern zone.

Mr President, as you would know, the season lasts until 31 May, so there is an opportunity, if things start to return to normal—clearly, the peak demand of the Chinese New Year has gone—so there is an opportunity for fishers to go back. Some are going to make judgments about whether they would fish at a lower price than the $100 a kilo that they get at the peak times. That's an individual business decision. But we hope that, of the 330 tonnes, a fairly good percentage of that will be caught and sold at reasonable prices before the end of May.