Lobster fishers lose thousands

Apollo Bay rock lobster fisher Tom Mactaggart says the industry desperately needs State Government help to cope with the coronavirus outbreak which has devastated exports.

Apollo Bay rock lobster fishers are staring down the barrel of tens of thousands of dollars in losses as China’s coronavirus outbreak decimates the industry’s export market.

One fisher is resorting to doorknocking at Melbourne restaurants and markets as he desperately tries to offload his stock and recoup their money from expensive licence and equipment fees.

But help could be on the way, with the state fisheries authority confirming it will answer calls to rollover catch quotas into next year to help fishers cover their losses.

China’s coronavirus outbreak caused 95 per cent of the sales market for Apollo Bay rock lobster fishers to disappear overnight, leaving many anxious about their livelihoods.

Tom Mactaggart said he had no choice but to stop fishing at a moment’s notice because of the lack of demand, and that plenty of other fishers found themselves in the same proverbial boat.

“I stopped work a week ago,” he said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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