Tasmanian fishing groups and national Stop the Trawler Alliance groups are disappointed that Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation has backed down and is negotiating with owners of the super trawler Geelong Star. They have reaffirmed their commitment to fight the Geelong Star and large freezer factory trawlers operating in Australian waters.
“The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation is not representing every day fishers when they try to negotiate some second-rate deal with super trawler owners who have a track record of breaking government fisheries regulations overseas,” said Mike Stevens of TasFish.
“We do not believe that negotiating with the super trawler owners will help protect our fishery or local fishing. Any move-on rules or exclusion areas will be bandaid solutions because we still do not have a scientific understanding of fish movements and how to avoid localised depletion,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club. “This vessel is currently fishing with the permission of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority without even consulting important stakeholders in southern Australian states.”
“We do not want the factory freezer trawler Geelong Star operating in Australia, and it is time Senator Colbeck and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority started doing their job properly and requiring the necessary science to be done, instead of leaving it to community groups to defend our fisheries,” said Mr Stevens.
“While we understand why the ARFF have entered the discussions with the SPFIA we remain totally opposed to the super trawler. We are disappointed that it has come to this when AFMA and Government have failed to implement appropriate management arrangements in the SPF before giving the green light for industrial scale fishing to a level never before permitted in the Australia SPF. An overwhelming disapproval of a super trawler remains within our membership and we will maintain our commitment to the campaign against it,” said John Edwards of the Tuna Club of Tasmania.
“Environment groups, tourism operators, commercial fishers and community members across Australia do not want to see one out of touch organisation negotiating empty promises with the super trawler owner. We want to see the Abbott Government protect our threatened species and local fisheries from this huge freezer factory trawler and it’s time Prime Minister Abbott delivered on that promise,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Environment Tasmania.