Co-op scales up with Maclean fish shop

CLARENCE River Fishermen's Co-operative has bought a shop in Maclean in a show of confidence seemingly at odds with the fishing industry's uncertain future.

The store's sale went through on Thursday afternoon, giving the co-op retail outlets in all three major towns of the lower Clarence.

General manager Danielle Adams said the Maclean shop would reopen on Thursday, September 8.

"In the past we have leased it out - now we have our own retail shop in Maclean, Iluka and Yamba," she said.

"Our focus has always been trying to get a footprint in all towns of the lower Clarence.

"We've been biding our time and our chance has come."

Ms Adams said staff were working against the clock to clean and repaint the shop before it reopened.

"We have a hell of a lot to do before Thursday," she said.

"But it will give Maclean locals a chance to buy the same fresh local products that are available at our Iluka and Yamba shops."

The investment comes at a time of uncertainty in the New South Wales commercial fishing industry, with the State Government this week announcing a trial run of its coming fishery share trading process.

The government has been criticised for ushering in industry-wide reforms before being able to explain to fishers how the changes would affect their livelihoods.

The Clarence co-op has predicted it may lose about a third of its boats by the time the process is completed.

"Our foremost focus is our fishing fleet, trying to get them through the process," Ms Adams said.

"Once we've done that we can adjust our business."

-ARM NEWSDESK