Just weeks out from the Federal Election, Australian jobs, fisheries and iconic marine life remains under grave threat from foreign fishing companies given a free pass by the major political parties to deplete Australian waters, endanger jobs and send millions of dollars off-shore.
“A National Week of Action kicked off earlier this week, with people flooding their Members of Parliament with messages and protests taking place across the country this morning showing the strong support for a permanent ban on super trawlers coming from diverse sectors of the community,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.
“The scale of the threat is so immense that we’ve seen odd bedfellows join forces to put an end to this wholesale disaster. The fishing industry, conservationists, tourism operators, recreational fishers and all those who value Australia’s unique marine environment are steadfast in their opposition.
“The Geelong Star has been operating off the NSW South Coast for months, catching thousands of tonnes of baitfish, confronting local recreational fishers and undermining local fishing and tourism businesses. It brings nothing to our community, it just takes our valuable fish resources, and we’ve had enough,” said Sven Helland, a recreational fisher from Bega.
“Just yesterday the Bega Valley Shire Council voted in favour of a motion to protect our local coast from super trawlers as local businesses rally to protect our valuable marine resources. Things are going to continue to heat up if Federal candidates don’t respond to widespread community concerns and support a real ban,” Mr Helland said.
“Recreational fishers have had enough of being ignored by the major parties on this issue. Foreign factory trawlers are a huge threat to our Small Pelagic Fishery, which supports million dollar game-fishing industries and hundreds of jobs in our regional coastal communities, yet we are being put behind one company’s marginal operation and offshore profits. If the major parties don’t take a stand on this issue, they're going to feel it at the ballot box,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
Earlier this month, the NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair called on the Commonwealth Government to review the management of super trawlers in our waters, aware of the growing concern and mounting political pressure.
“The clear message to our Government representatives - and those that hope to be - is that Australians expect tough legislation to protect our natural resources, jobs and economy from marauding overseas interests. Communities in several key electorates are telling their candidates to boot out super trawlers or pay at the voting booth,” concluded Ms Hubbard.
Events are being held in Bega, Geelong, Hobart and Adelaide today.