Up to $3.6 million on offer for fishers in net-free zones

COMMERICAL fishers will be offered $3.6 million to give up their licences covering net-free zones in Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns.

The zones were deemed off-limits from November 1 last year.

In this second round, Fisheries Minister Leanne Donaldson is hoping more commercial operators will take the money in exchange for the licences.

In the first voluntary buyback effort, the state secured 27 licences for a cost of $3.31 million.

The government first wants to target those who are licensed to fish in the net-free zones, followed by those licensed to fish nearby.

"If funds permit, the voluntary buyback scheme may then be extended to commercial net fishers in other areas."

The payments will be handled by the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority.

Minister Donaldson said the Government had offered a generous and comprehensive package of financial assistance to net fishers affected by the net-free zones.

"Two additional schemes, the Settlement Scheme and the Impact Alleviation Scheme have already provided assistance totalling $2.5 million to eligible fishers."