Media Release - 26 December 2014
Environment and fishing groups from the Stop the Trawler Alliance and the Australian Marine Alliance welcome the Government’s admission that super trawlers must be banned from Australian waters. Unfortunately super trawlers under 130m in length pose just as much of a threat to Australia's marine environment and important recreational fisheries, and will still be granted access under Senator Colbeck's plan.
“The Government has acknowledged that community concerns are valid by announcing a permanent ban on super trawlers, however their focus on boats over 130m long will not stop the destruction of slightly shorter super trawlers with similar freezer-factory capacity,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator of Environment Tasmania and Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.
“There is a fleet of super trawlers sitting on Australia’s doorstep that are shorter than 130m that could have an equally devastating impact on our marine life, our fisheries and our local fishing. What is Senator Colbeck going to do to stop these industrial freezer trawlers destroying our marine environment and recreational fisheries?” asked Ms Hubbard.
“The Expert Panel report recently released by the Government confirmed that large freezer-factory trawlers will cause localised depletion and impact on threatened species, and that this impact will be greater because of their freezer factory capacity. Senator Colbeck’s proposal opens the door to shorter industrial freezer trawlers and misses the mark in addressing recreational fishers’ concerns,” said Nobby Clark, spokesperson for Game Fishing Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
Dean Logan, CEO of the Australian Marine Alliance agreed, “This decision is very disappointing. It is short sighted and challenges the Government’s ability to prosecute a genuine commitment to marine conservation. How can you support industrial scale fishing vessels up to 425ft in length at the expense of the majority of cottage based commercial and recreational fishermen who are deemed sustainable and who contribute daily to regional Australia with boats less than 40ft in length”.
Environment groups (ENGOs) and recreational fishing groups do not accept Senator Colbeck's media release definition of a super trawler.
Environment and recreational fishing groups from the Stop the Trawler Alliance have communicated to Government Ministers and their advisors on numerous occasions that large-scale industrial freezer-factory trawlers under 130m in length are of equal and significant concern to our fisheries and marine life.