Successful Licence Sale Injunction

By | Fishing | No Comments

Recently our client entered into a verbal agreement with another party to buy from them a fishing licence with certain fishing quota and fishing symbols attached to it. After the deal had been agreed to, the other party then attempted to say that there had never been any agreement to sell.

The other party then attempted to sell the licence and quota and symbol to an unrelated third party, without telling our client. When our client found out he asked us to write to the seller to see if the seller would provide a written undertaking not to sell to the third party or to any other party. When the seller refused to provide the undertaking, our client asked us to seek a Court injunction preventing the seller from selling or in any other way dealing with the licence, and if the seller had already sold or otherwise dealt with the licence, to prevent the seller from disposing of or using the proceeds of the sale.

Within 24 hours an urgent Application was made to the Brisbane Supreme Court. The Court gave an injunction to our client which prevented the seller from selling or otherwise dealing with the licence, quota and symbol, as well as an injunction preventing the seller from dealing with any proceeds from the sale or other dealing of the licence.

We immediately notified QFS of the court order, and they then noted their register by putting a “Stop Notice” on the subject licence, the effect of which would be to alert QFS to the fact that they shouldn’t process any transaction relating to the licence.

Court proceedings are continuing, and so it is not appropriate to disclose the name of either our client or the seller.

Reef Queensland Success Stories

By | Fishing | No Comments

W –v- QFS

This Fisherman had a boat that was damaged by pin-holing. It could not be used from 20 April 1996 to approximately 9 January 1997.

QFS wouldn’t give the fisherman an RQ Symbol, as they claimed that the event-based special circumstance had not happened for 9 months during 1996. This was important, as if it was for in excess of 9 months, an RQ Symbol would be given, but if it was under 9 months, there was no entitlement to RQ Symbol and Quota.

We argued that “at least 9 months” should be interpreted as affecting at least 9 calendar months in the year”. QFS argued that it had to be for 9 full calendar months. If the Tribunal accepted that if any day in a particular calendar month was affected, it counted as one of the 9 months, our client would succeed.

The Tribunal accepted our submission, found that the period 20 April 1996 to 31 December 1996 was a special event “for at least 9 months” during 1996, and an RQ Symbol and Quota was granted.

Reef Queensland Success Stories

By | Fishing | No Comments

M –v- QFS

This Fisherman wanted an RQ Symbol, but missed the 500 kg cut off in a particular year.

We reviewed the log book history and found an entry that could have been 15.2kg, or perhaps 152kg.

QFS argued that it was 15.2 and that the decimal point was clear. However, the Tribunal accepted our Submission that there was some doubt, and any doubt had to be interpreted to benefit the fisherman. The Tribunal accepted the entry was possibly 152, and that once the possibility existed, QFS were obligated to accept the entry as 152 kg. An RQ Symbol was granted.

Reef Queensland Success Stories

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Z –v- QFS

Wednesday 11 May 2005 – An L2 licence holder missed out on RQ because previous licence holder had entered some false information in the log books. We were able to prove that this happened intentionally. However, the Tribunal ultimately awarded an RQ and Quota based upon the fact that several of the log book entries did not record whether the weights were whole fish, gutted or fillets. The Management Plan Provisions required QFS to use the interpretation that was most beneficial to the fisherman. In this case, if the incomplete entries were for fillets, you had to multiply the weight by at least 2 times! When this interpretation was applied, the licence holder did just meet the criteria of 500 kg in a particular year.

The Tribunal agreed with our interpretation of the legislation and awarded an RQ Symbol, much to the disappointment of QFS!

Successful Restructure Grant Application

By | Fishing | No Comments

On 1 July 2004 the Commonwealth Government closed off 33% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to fishing. The impact on Commercial Fishermen and Fishery Related Business has been significant.
The Government therefore set up a Business Restructure Assistance Package whereby affected businesses can apply for a one off lump sum payment to assist in overcoming the impact caused by the closures.

Our client was a third generation trawler fisherman. Prior to the closures his business was viable, returning a net profit of between $60,000.00 and $105,000.00 per annum leading up to the closures. Our client intended continuing with the business until retirement. Over the past 20 or so years since leaving school he had only worked in the family fishing business, which he now owns.

He did not have any income protection insurance, life insurance or any superannuation. Without the ability to continue his business he would be forced to tie up his fishing vessel and seek employment on the open labour market as a middle-aged man with no relevant skills outside of the fishing industry.

Our client decided to make an application to the Government for a restructure grant. We were engaged to make the application on his behalf and determined that our client’s business suffered a 10% loss of gross business income as a result of the closures. After considering all of our client’s circumstances, we determined that he was eligible for a restructure grant of up to $207,000.00 and submitted his application to the Government.

Our client’s restructure options were to use the Government grant to either make capital improvements to his trawler, retire business debt or purchase extra ‘fishing days’ to increase his income levels. Our client’s preferred option was to retire his significant business debts as this would enable our client to improve his overall cash flow position, so that he could re-structure his business operations and continue to operate at a viable level.

After considering the Application, the Government made an offer of $192,000.00 which our client accepted.