The Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association has started crying poor about management measures to protect dolphins and seals from being killed in their enormous nets, after saying they would happily play by the rules. The Stop the Trawler Alliance is concerned that the factory trawler operators are now going to push for their economic interest to be put ahead of the interests of our environment.
“The super trawler operators are now crying poor because they don’t want to play by the management rules put in place to protect our marine life. The vast majority of the Australian public opposes the operation of this industrial fishing trawler in our waters, and suggesting that their economic interests should be put ahead of our environment is even more offensive,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.
"Claims by industry that the net barrier will stop dolphins from being injured or killed can not be backed up by evidence. Night fishing operations make it extremely difficult to stay clear of dolphins and seals, and we maintain that no night fishing by the factory trawler Geelong Star is a minimum requirement," said Jon Bryan of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. "There needs to be 100% underwater video monitoring of the net barrier and other excluder devices to ensure that they are not just dumping dead or injured animals back into the ocean before they can be seen by observers."
"We warned that dolphins and seals would be killed under AFMA's management arrangements, even before the Geelong Star started fishing in Australian waters. There will be more unnecessary deaths if AFMA does not improve its strategy to protect marine mammals. Under current arrangements it is likely that deaths and injuries will be hidden from public scrutiny."
“The industry has been claiming that there is 100,000 tons of bait fish sitting out there on shelf and now they are suggesting they can't catch any of it. You don't change fisheries management because of economics. It's bad enough they can't even afford to pay for appropriate science,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
"The difficulties the Geelong Star is having catching small pelagic fish indicates that these fish are not as abundant as the super trawler proponents predicted. These fish are much more valuable left in the water to support ecosystem processes and recreational fisheries,” said Mr Bryan.
"Allowing the Geelong Star to continue to operate threatens important recreational fisheries and makes it harder for marine animals such as seals, dolphins and sharks to find food. It’s time the Abbott Government started listening to the Australian people and banned large factory trawlers in our Small Pelagic Fishery for good,” concluded Ms Hubbard.