Media Release - 30 January 2014
Recreational fishers and conservation groups today launched a joint campaign seeking pre-election commitments from all political parties to permanently ban super trawlers and prevent Tasmania becoming the dumping ground for companies using destructive commercial fishing methods.
The threat of a super trawler depleting Tasmanian fish stocks has not gone away, the Stop the Trawler Alliance said at the launch in Hobart, with a court challenge to the federal government’s 2-year ban still being considered and indications proponents will try again to bring fish factories to Tasmania’s waters.
The Stop the Trawler Alliance, which led the public campaign that resulted in a 2-year ban on super trawlers fishing in Australian waters in 2012, also revealed it has also grown in strength to include a range of recreational fishing groups.
New member groups include Game Fish Tasmania, TasFish Tasmanian Fishing News, Launceston Environment Centre, and the St Helens Gamefishing Club.
The Stop the Trawler Alliance is seeking pre-election commitments from all political parties for a permanent ban on super trawlers to help secure Tasmania’s marine resources for the future.
“We are seeking all political parties to commit to securing the long term health of Tasmania’s marine resources, such as its fish stocks, unique marine life and ecosystems that support vital industries, including tourism,” Rebecca Hubbard from Environment Tasmania said.
Since the Federal Government ban on super trawlers was put in place in November 2012 the owner of the super trawler Margiris has been charged with illegal fishing in France and is being investigated for illegal fishing in Ireland.
“So when Australia’s federal ban ends this year, Tasmania’s oceans will once again be under threat from these destructive freezer factory trawlers,” said Ms Hubbard.
“Concerns from fishers about the potential for localised over fishing and impacts on predators such as tuna remain unaddressed. While we welcome more scientific research into our fisheries, there is currently no management strategy that addresses localized depletion, which is unacceptable for a freezer factory trawler that can catch up to 5,000 tonnes in one trip, especially when we don’t know the movements of these fish. We’ve already seen localized overfishing in Tasmania in previous years with much smaller vessels. We need to protect the integrity of this fishery by banning large capacity freezer factory trawlers,” said Nobby Clarke of Game Fish Tasmania.
“The proponent of the last super trawler, Seafish, announced last week that it is still seeking to use super trawlers, however the public has made it patently clear that all super trawlers and the risks they pose to our fisheries and protected marine life such as dolphins and seabirds are unwanted,” Ms Hubbard said.
“We need to protect the ability of fishers to take their kids fishing, to protect the long-term sustainability of our fishing and tourism industries, and the lifestyles that we all hold dear. We work hard to earn our annual leave and we wont stand idly by if politicians try and allow greedy multi-national companies to decimate our vital marine resources and destroy the recreational fishing we all enjoy. All political parties must commit to permanently ban super trawlers in Tasmania,” said Todd Lambert, State CEPU Organiser.
Over 7,300 people have already signed the joint petition for a permanent super trawler ban in Tasmania. The Stop the Trawler Alliance election campaign will involve public events, information stalls, and lobbying around the state over the next six weeks.