Fishers and conservationists from the Stop the Trawler Alliance are outraged that the Government has abolished the advisory committee responsible for reviewing the quota and management of the Small Pelagic Fishery in which the controversial factory freezer trawler Geelong Star is operating. It was revealed by the conservation and recreational fishing representatives of the AFMA managed Small Pelagic Fishery Resource Advisory Group has been shut down, with no obvious replacement prepared.
“The Government has shot the super trawler messenger by abolishing an important committee responsible for providing advice on the management of the Small Pelagic Fishery, which the factory freezer trawler Geelong Star operates in,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.
“This committee has been plagued by problems for years. The recent resignation of its Independent Chair due to concerns over conflicts of interest of industry members have been at best ignored, and at worst covered up. Instead of fixing the problems, the Abbott Government has shot the super trawler messenger,” said Ms Hubbard.
“This is a sad day for recreational fishers Australia-wide. The level of transparency within this fishery and surrounding the Geelong Star is about to go to a new low, never before seen in an AFMA managed fishery,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
“Sadly this is another case of the Federal Government putting the interests of foreign companies before the Australian people, especially when Tony Abbott promised so much more before the last Federal Election,” concluded Mr Clark.
“The Australian public is deeply distressed about the ongoing deaths of dolphins and secret fishing operations by the factory freezer trawler Geelong Star, and yet the Abbott Government is ignoring these valid concerns, and choosing not to protect our marine life, coastal communities and recreational fisheries,” concluded Ms Hubbard.