Burke’s intervention not enough

Media Release -  Tuesday 5 September

Despite Minister Burke’s decision, the issues of bycatch and wider threats to marine life from the super trawler FV Margiris have not been addressed, and the super trawler alliance urges the Federal Government to act to keep super trawlers out of Australia.

“The conditions that Environment Minister Tony Burke proposes to apply to this super trawler go some way to increase protection for dolphins, seals and seabirds, but alone, they are not enough to protect our marine life and fisheries,” said Tooni Mahto, Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“The conditions do not categorically shut fishing operations down in the event of dolphin and seal mortalities, but instead offer the opportunity to ‘review’ fishing operations,” Miss Mahto continued. “Until we get a clear understanding of what format this review process will take, we’re unconvinced the conditions go far enough to ensure the full protection for marine wildlife.

“Given the public opposition to the super trawler fishing, these conditions should go out for public consultation and comment prior to finalization,” concluded Ms Mahto.

“Small pelagic fish are an important feed species for seals, dolphins, penguins and gamefish and a significant reduction in their numbers caused by localized depletion from super trawlers is still possible and may result in a lack of feed available, and ultimately influence species survival in some areas,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator of Environment Tasmania.

“The Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig must step in and address concerns about localized depletion and the age and appropriateness of the quotas”.

“Furthermore, the Australian Government needs to listen to the overwhelming public opposition to super trawling, and support the Private Members Bill from ALP MP Melissa Parke, and ban super trawlers in Australia,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

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