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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I have had several conversations with fishermen with regard to the value of the trawler's work so far as the. fishing industry is concerned, and the universal verdict was that it had been of no assistance to them in their business. I do not pretend to know whether that is so or not, but if it is the case the trawler is evidently failing to do what was intended. Most of us are aware that there is a large quantity of fish in Australian waters, and that the fishing industry is in a very imperfect state of development. The idea in sending out the trawler was to obtain for fishermen such information as would enable them to prosecute the industry with profit to themselves and to the general community.

Senator St Ledger - Perhaps, if they could prosecute the middlemen it might be better sometimes.

Senator STEWART - If we can find out where the fish are, and catch them, the next step will be to attack the middleman.. The opinion of the fishermen was that the work of the trawler seemed to be spasmodic, without method, that it hurried up and down the coast, and did not make a thorough examination of any particular portion, and, further, that the information made public through the press did not help them in any way. Another complaint they made was that local fishermen were never consulted as to the local names for fishes, and so forth. It is not a matter in which I am very well posted, but it appears that in various districts fish bear different names, and that these names are known only to the local fishermen. The members of one fishing association insisted that it was essential, in the interests of fishermen, that when the trawler did go up the coast of Queensland a local man should be taken on while it was working in each district, so as to give the captain information on the one hand, and supply the fishermen with the result of the work on the other hand. It appears to me that the trawler is galloping - if that word can be used in regard to a ship - up and down the coast of Australia at too great a rate to be able to do anything effective. If this system is continued, the net result of it will be that we shall be spending a great deal of money with very little advantage. I bring the matter under the attention of the Minister, and if he is able to effect any improvement, I am sure the various bodies of fishermen along the coast will be very thankful, and the public will be benefited by the expenditure.

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