The Stop the Trawler Alliance today called for the factory freezer trawler the Geelong Star and all large factory trawlers to be banned from fishing in Australian waters.
This follows revelations the Geelong Star has killed four dolphins and two fur seals within the first few weeks of fishing in Australian waters.
“Our main concern has always been the impact of large freezer factory trawlers on Australia’s iconic and protected marine wildlife,” said Tooni Mahto, Fisheries Campaigner at the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
“We are extremely saddened to hear the trawler has already killed four dolphins and two fur seals in a few weeks of fishing in Australian waters,” she said. “Our worst fears about the trawler have been realised.
“The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and sectors of the fishing industry have consistently said that this vessel poses no real threat to Australian wildlife. These empty assurances have quite clearly backfired.
“The community trusts the management authorities and the fishing industry to manage the risk to marine mammals.
“We call on the Australian Government to act to protect our marine life by banning the factory freezer trawler the Geelong Star and all large factory trawlers from Australian waters,” she concluded.
“We’ve had no more information about these deaths other than AFMA’s media release,” said Nobby Clark of the Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
“Recreational fishers have been calling on the Australian Government to make boat operations more transparent to the public, but have so far been stonewalled,” he said.
“The ongoing secrecy of the operation of the vessel, including where it’s fishing, is just one of the many reasons recreational fishers gathered at the weekend to protest about the Geelong Star. We will continue to oppose it until such time that measures are in place to prevent mammal deaths and localized depletion,” he concluded.
“The public has consistently opposed the Geelong Star and all large freezer factory trawlers operating in Australian waters,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.
“The last thing they want to see is reports of dolphin and seal deaths, especially after 75,000 signed a petition calling on the Australian Government to stop the vessel from entering Australian fisheries,” she said.