Industry Funded VMS Legal Opinion

Posted in Industry News

The association was approached to coordinate a legal opinion regarding the introduction of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) across the Queensland commercial fishing industry.  The QSIA does not have the funding to pay the legal costs associated with a legal opinion but can help coordinate a legal opinion that is funded across industry.

In order to determine what level of funding we may have to pursue we are seeking pledges from today, Friday 17 August to Wednesday 5 September.  Please send your pledge amount to eo@qsia.com.au and if enough funds are raised the office will contact each pledge author to organise payment into a fund.

Pledge Document_16 Aug 2018

Governance and communication – The level of funding will be made known publicly and expenditure against funds raised will also be open to interrogation by contributors.  The legal opinion will be made publicly available to industry.

Key questions developed by the association:

  1. Are commercial fishers facing a form of discrimination in the roll-out of VMS?
  2. Does industry have legal standing to challenge the manner in which VMS is being implemented?
  3. Where commercial fishers’ area of work is developed over years and decades and amounts to a key for of work product or intellectual property – why should this be given over to government at commercial fishers’ cost?
  4. Commercial fishers are being treated like data collection agents – could industry mount a claim to charge for this confidential information?
  5. Is government overreaching and introducing costs to small scale commercial fishers by demanding monitoring of primary vessels and their tenders?
  6. Do trawl fishers have a case for income not paid as de facto data collection agents?
  7. Will the agencies or groups noted above have access to the data? If so, what assurances do industry have that their data is not leaked to third parties?

The association has approached multiple legal firms and we have to raise between $22,000 and $55,000.

QSIA’s role is administration and coordination and its work ends once we have some understanding of any legal issues that could be pursued which may become a more involved legal process beyond the skills of the association to coordinate.

If you have any questions please contact the office on 0417 631 353.

Author: Eric Perez, CEO – Queensland Seafood Industry Association

Image: Queensland Seafood Industry Association

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