Coronavirus outbreak hits fishing industry

Apollo Bay rock lobster fisherman Markus Nolle says the local industry is in desperate need of support while China’s coronavirus outbreak decimates its trading.

The effects of China’s coronavirus outbreak have spread to the Otway Coast’s fishing industry, with an Apollo Bay rock lobster fisherman saying trade has come “grinding to a halt”.

Chinese authorities have restricted imports of live product as they attempt to contain the virus epidemic, which has deprived the rock lobster industry of nearly the entirety of its market.

Seafood exporters are looking to open negotiations with the state and federal governments to secure assistance for their depleted cash flow but are concerned their appeals will fall on deaf ears.

Rock lobster fisherman Markus Nolle said the trading lockdown was “disastrous” for the industry and estimated Australia shipped 95 per cent of total rock lobster to the trade powerhouse.

“The whole industry is predominantly built around an export market to China,” he said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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