THE GULL has been a contributor to the Queensland Seafood magazine for decades. I hope you enjoy THE GULL’S views on the introduction of camera / surveillance technology in Queensland commercial fisheries.
You may not agree with THE GULL but that’s ok – we live in a democracy and THE GULL is applying one of the most fundamental rights we have, the right to free speech. So enjoy and stay tuned for more insights from THE GULL who casts a cynical eye and wry smile over fisheries management issues, regards Eric Perez, CEO, Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA).
Big Brother here
I THINK cameras in workplaces watching staff are a great idea. I mean, I have always wondered, for example, how much of their time at work public servants really put into working. Versus, say, checking their Facebook posts and making private phone calls and organising their weekend activities, etcetera.
Now, imagine a camera positioned above their desk, watching over their computer and able to see exactly what they are doing, minute by minute by minute throughout the day. What a great idea!
Yes, I’m joking of course. It would be an outrage. The public service union (Together Queensland), quite rightly, would never allow it.
Union bosses would say cameras spying on their members – like some Orwellian Big Brother watching everyone – would be an outrageous infringement of personal rights and a flagrant breach of privacy. And they’d be right.
But apparently some public servants – at least those in Fisheries Queensland, egged on by environmental activists who want to regulate professional fishermen out of existence – think it’s okay to have spy cameras in boats recording fishermen every moment of their working day (and night).
It is an outrage. It is one step too far. And it must be resisted. If it is alright for fishermen to be spied on with cameras, then why not graziers as they handle their cattle or sheep, or cane farmers as they harvest and plant along creek lines or spray chemicals, or timber-getters or truck drivers or taxi-drivers or …
Where does it stop? Simple: it should be stopped before it starts by not being imposed on professional fishermen.
IF spy cameras were to be put in professional boats, how long before they go in to amateur boats as well?
In with amateur reef fishermen would be a good place to start, eh. We all know about amateurs getting round the bag limit by “high grading”: hitting the bag limit for a particular species and then throwing back dead smaller fish as they catch bigger fish, so when they come in with the correct bag limit number, the weight of the fish is the heaviest possible.
You’d have to reckon cameras would cut that out and help manage reef fishing, eh.
ANYBODY reckon this current State Government has any empathy for primary producers. I am yet to see the evidence.
Take the QSIA request to the State Government to forego $5 million in fees from the seafood industry this year to help cope with COVID-19 impacts as an example. Nope, no chance, says the Government. Of course, the thing is, money matters in the State Treasury. The State debt is already, what, $80 or $90 billion?
I saw one story that said, even before COVID-19, the Queensland Government’s fiscal deficit was forecast at $4.1 billion this financial year and $4.6 billion in 2020-21, helping push the total State debt to $100 billion by 2023-24.
Luckily for the public servants who want to hold on to seafood industry fees and impose extra costs on fishermen through surveillance cameras we have to pay for, they got a 3 per cent pay rise in 2019 and a one-off payment of $1,250 in March.
Author: THE GULL, Queensland Seafood magazine No 2, p.30.
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