Thursday, 20 December 2012

Gladstone fishers unimpressed by compensation offer

Gladstone commercial fishers are unimpressed by a new compensation offer from Gladstone Ports Corporation announced yesterday.
The scheme explained by GPC chief executive Leo Zussino basically offers eligible fishers the equivalent of 1.5 years earnings based on their best production figures in recent years for loss of access to fishing grounds as a result of the massive Western Basin Dredging Project, but does not take into account any compensation for the ongoing fish disease. It also makes no mention of seafood businesses affected, and applications from fishers will be considered on an individual basis.
Mr Zussino maintains that the diseased seafood is linked to the floods two years ago, a theory which was recently soundly refuted by aquatic disease expert Dr Matt Landos following extensive investigations in Gladstone Harbour. He found that the disease problem was most likely linked to the dredging.
Commercial fisher Trevor Falzon has described the GPC offer as a slap in the face, and owner of the Gladstone Seafood Markets, Ted Whittingham, said it was a token offer, given the volume of diseased seafood still being caught in the harbour.
The GPC's clumisly worded media release can be read in full here

 but the ABC's PM program had this comprehensive report yesterday:

SALLY SARA: Gladstone's commercial fishing industry has rejected millions of dollars in compensation for a dredging project in central Queensland. Gladstone Harbour is being transformed to make way for the growing liquefied natural gas industry. 

The local fishing industry is being compensated for reduced access in parts of the harbour as the project develops. But fishermen say they should also be compensated for an outbreak of diseased fish which they blame on the dredging.

Stephanie Smail reports. 

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The port of Gladstone is shaping up to be one of Australia's busiest liquefied natural gas hubs. To make way for the new industry, the harbour is undergoing one of the biggest dredging operations ever attempted inshore from the Great Barrier Reef.

The project was only given approval if fishermen were promised compensation for reduced access to the area.

The Gladstone Ports Corporation's chief executive, Leo Zussino, announced the package today.

LEO ZUSSINO: For those fishers who have fished in the affected areas around the Western Basin, they will effectively receive one and a half years of their gross revenue as compensation for this temporary loss of access because of the dredging project.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: But Mr Zussino stresses the compensation has nothing to do with the outbreak of sick fish in Gladstone Harbour last year.

Local fishermen blamed dredging and development in the harbour when fish with sores, rashes and infected eyes were found in the region. More than 60 affected fishermen and business operators lodged a multimillion dollar compensation claim, but it was rejected by the courts.

Leo Zussino says there is no scientific evidence linking the dredging and the diseased fish.

LEO ZUSSINO: We will put all of our weight on that scientific evidence, and very clearly there were diseased fish in Gladstone Harbour. From all the information we have been given, it all related to the barramundi that came over the Awoonga Dam and the lack of food and the stressed conditions and the lack of salinity in Gladstone Harbour. And so we accept that, but it wasn't caused by the dredging project.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Gladstone's commercial fishing industry has rejected the Ports Corporation's compensation package.

Local fisherman Trevor Falzon says it's not enough money and he won't bother applying for it.

TREVOR FALZON: It's just not worth it in its form now. If GCP (Gladstone Ports Corporation) come up with a better offer, we're willing to negotiate.

But the thing is, GCP have released it today just before Christmas, thinking it was a merry Christmas for all the commercial fisherman - in fact, it was just a slap in the face.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: He insists there is evidence linking the dredging to the diseased fish and says ultimately, the Gladstone Ports Corporation is to blame. 

TREVOR FALZON: They've just got their heads in the sand and don't want to know anything about it because they do realise what they're up against as far as compensation for not only commercial fishermen but anybody who has anything to do with this development, who worked on the harbour. They know they're liable for that.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Applications for compensation will be assessed from early next year. But many in Gladstone's commercial fishing industry have vowed to keep fighting to prove the diseased fish outbreak was linked to the dredging. They're determined to win the compensation package they say they deserve.


  1. One and a half year's pay for being virtually put out of business seems a paltry deal to me. Many of the fishers have already left Gladstone, a previously thriving export scallop trade has closed down and serious question mark hangs over human health aspects which has not been acknowledged by any authority.

  2. Does this man honestly think that we are blithering idiots to try and have us believe that floods 2 years ago are still the cause of the disease in the harbour.

    I guess it takes one to know one. The massive disturbance caused by the dredging is having no effect at all on the sick harbour but even today he is still forcefully maintaining that it is still being caused by the floods 2 years ago.
    We know who the blithering idiot is.

    If this person was to be sacked today, the Govt would have to pay out his contract and he would get more as a payout than all of the fishers in Gladstone are being offered for the loss of their livelihoods and future. What a sick joke the GPC is.

  3. I listened to an extended interview with Leo Zussino on ABC radio yesterday afternoon and he must believe the general public to be blithering idiots to be reassured by the spin he placed on what has been going on at Gladstone Harbour.
    He also talked about in this guesture of compensation, (btw out of the goodness of GPA hearts for something never their fault), would restore the brand name of the Gladstone fishery. Fat chance I would have thought.

  4. I am at a loss to understand why no interviewer has thrown up the findings by Matt Landos or other scientists - the JCU study which found dredge plumes extending 35 km, the comments by another JCU scientist John Brodie who also pointed to raised metal levals coinciding with the dredging, the confirmed finding of the toxic lyngbya algae which thrives in nutrients disturbed by dredging, the dead oysters which anyone with eyes can see.... boy that flood we had two years ago sure must have singled Gladstone out when no similar effects have been experienced anywhere else.
    How gullible do they think people are who can see all this first hand. The answer I think lies to a fair degree in the attitude I have heard expressed - Gladstone is an industrial city. Accept it, or leave. And a lot of people are doing just that. Some of the remainder don't want to accept the facts unless they get sick from eating a diseased fish or end up in hospital with a serious skin infection, as many have. About 60 cases I believe.

  5. This window can be a cranky little so and so! So, here goes again.
    Summer stand - in morning host on Aunty's Radio National, John Doyle (great boating mate of Prof Tim Flannery, and sort - of straight man for Greig (weird spelling!) Pickhaver's HG persona) had an interesting interview with the proprietor of the Gladstone wholesale seafood business this morning.

    While many 'rusted on' haters of anything remotely connected with anything 'green', no matter how irrelevant the 'connection', would immediately dismiss it out of hand on those really dumb grounds - including the fact that JD had also just interviewed Paul Watson - it was a good interview. RN might put it up on the website, worth catching for those prepared to consider complex issues with an open mind, and on their genuine merits. (But no, I am in no way a personal fan of JD / 'Roy' :-)
    Cheers al

    1. Off topic here, but someone (like Dale or Geoff, who will probably know the answer), might see it!

      On the opening page, when scrolling down the various topics and comments, from the most recent, why does the ability to do that just end? No doubt many viewers might not be interested in scrolling further, but I would suggest, others would!

      I know you can look at the history of discussions on the RHS of the page, but that isn't really convenient unless you are specifically looking for something. Just my opinion.
      Cheers al

  6. Hi Al if you click on the small 'older post' on the right below each article it will take you right through to the end, post by post. You can also click on newer post from down the list to move back up one at a time.
    A lot of people probably don't realise some of the early posts are still there.
    Would be good when latest comments can be displayed too, as Dale has said earlier - ie if someone comments on an older article, nobody knows.

    1. Ok, latest comments are now up on the main page; if you refresh the main page,have a look in the narrow right hand column.
      The earlier option to place this on this blog was broken but I found another option to do this on page 775 to 800 out of a possible 874 differnt additions that you could burden the front page with.
      This one doesn't show the discussion that the comment has been made in but if you click on Continue, you will go direct to the revelant discussion.
      Now comments can be made on older discussions & we can see that they have been made. Also for housekeeping commnets like these we can keep off topic comments off a discussion such as this one.

  7. From today's Gladstone Observer: THE seafood industry has blasted a compensation package released by Gladstone Ports Corporation on Wednesday, calling it "totally inadequate and a shameful failure".

    The package is designed to compensate commercial fishermen for loss of income on Gladstone Harbour during construction of the LNG projects.

    Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) Chairman Michael Gardner said fishermen and other seafood-related business operators in the region were bitterly disappointed by the package.

    "What has been proposed by the GPC is completely inadequate and it is an insult to affected business operators and their families," Mr Gardner said today.

    "I am not talking simply about the amount of money offered to fishermen. This proposal still reflects the original problem: the full area of water affected and the full range of impacts on seafood-related businesses have still not been recognised.

    "The original environmental impact statements, or EISs, compiled by the LNG companies were inadequate and deficient because they never attempted to predict or assess the full range of impacts on the seafood industry, as they are required to do.

    "The attitude of the GPC has been dismissive of the fishing industry. The GPC was never interested in even looking at the impacts of the Western Basin Development on the fishing industry other than the area associated with the dredging. The whole process has been a shameful failure.

    "In fact, there is a far broader range of impacts that are harming a wider range of fishermen and related businesses.

    "These include impacts caused by such things as water turbidity, including the plume of muddy water trailing away from the dredge spoil dumping area closely adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
    (Continue reading at )

  8. Some good comments on that Observer article including this one, which sums it up:
    Progressagain from Clinton 11 hours ago
    Most locals who were raised on this harbour knew that dredging and reclamation on the scale that has taken place would kill the fishing and crabbing as well as wipe out the marine animals living in the harbour but expecting the guilty parties to pay for all the damage or even admit to it is expecting the impossible. We are all poorer and suffering because of the LNG invasion but none as much as the local fishing families. One day the damming evidence will be revealed but it will be too late.

  9. Continuing to damage and destroy ocean food web ecosystems is extraordinary and absurd especially considering the 4 main Pacific tuna species that rely on eating pilchard, herring, anchovy and squid, are now at a historically low levels.

    Over fishing is still being blamed with no official mention of food web ecosystem destruction and depletion of estuary/bay/lagoon, seagrass-dependent small fish, that go out to sea for tuna to eat.
    Only in the past year has the more conservative and sensible IUCN begun to study coastal food web ecosystems.

    IUCN research should surely include damage at Gladstone and reason for 7 dead whales on Frazer Island alone in the past 2 years (and more elsewhere on Australia's east coast).

    It is already too late for many many fishing families that have lost their livelihood, not just those at Gladstone.
    It's also too late for protein malnourished islanders who have lost their lives and for the millions of starved and dead sea birds and other ocean animals.

    And the ocean food web ecosystem damage and destruction is blatantly continuing.

  10. Hi JohnCF, good to hear from you. Anyone with eyes and a trace of common sense can see what is happening and to continue claiming that all is well, it's all natural, nature will heal itself etc etc is sadly deluded or in cahoots with the big developers/ polluters. Dredging is obviously resuspending a lot of toxic material and nutrients but we are expected to believe that floods two years ago are still responsible.


Welcome to a place that has a focus (but not exclusively) on regional and rural Australia open for anyone living anywhere to read, learn and interact. Please feel free to make a comment.

You can use some HTML codes such as, a for active; b for bold; i for italics

Active code - substitute a for @
<@ href="web address">linked words

[Click Here] for a link to another site where there is a very good simple explanation.