Commercial fishing, aquaculture and charter boat industries on the Coffs Coast are getting critical relief, with the NSW Nationals in Government announcing $9 million in support of seafood industries.

NSW Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said it was important to the support the sector, which has taken a hit from bushfires and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The loss of tourists, disruption to restaurants and cafes, and reduced demand for products have hit local businesses hard, and the NSW Nationals in Government are committed to seeing them through this tough time,” Mr Singh said.

“We’ve worked directly with the seafood industries to make sure they are supported in a way that will keep them running and allow them to flourish into the future ahead of what is expected to be a bumper season as things slowly start to return to normal.

“That’s why fees and charges have been waived for 12 months, and further significant investments have been made in industry stimulus programs.”

$9 million in assistance and waivers will be issued to fishers, aquaculture businesses and fishing charter operators, including:

• $4 million in fee waivers for commercial fishers
• $2.1 million in fee waivers and rent relief for the aquaculture industry
• $200,000 in fee waivers for the charter boat fishing sector
• $500,000 in rent relief for fishing cooperatives located on Crown land
• $2.2 million in industry stimulus programs

“The state’s seafood industry is an important economic driver in coastal and regional NSW, generating over half a billion dollars in economic activity each year and employing more than 4000 people,” Mr Singh said.

“This announcement from the NSW Nationals in Government is eagerly welcomed by regional NSW, and will boost morale for our commercial fishers to pick themselves up again.”