MEDIA RELEASE - Fishing and conservation delegation deliver petition to Coalition
A delegation of recreational fishers and conservationists from the Stop the Trawler Alliance today delivered over 14,000 new petitioners’ names to Government MP Sarah Henderson, calling for a permanent ban on super trawlers in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery, bringing the total petition to 230,000 concerned citizens.
“The Geelong Star has demonstrated that factory freezer trawlers cannot economically fish under management conditions that reduce impacts and community concerns to anywhere near acceptable levels. The Turnbull Government has inherited a lemon with super trawlers, but there is now an opportunity to respond to the overwhelming public call for a ban on factory trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.
“The regulator (the Australian Fisheries Management Agency/AFMA) continues to disappoint. Steps to protect marine mammals remain inadequate. Secrecy surrounding the fishery means we won’t know where the vessel is fishing, what it is catching or when dolphins and seals are being killed. This is unacceptable to the broad cross-section of Australians who expect transparent fisheries management and protection of our unique marine life,” said Jon Bryan of Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
“The catch quotas that the super trawler is operating on are meaningless because the necessary fish stock assessments have not been done and quota setting has been tainted by conflicts of interest. AFMA has become a rogue agency and its dealings with the Small Pelagic Fishery is now threatening the reputation of Australian fisheries management,” said Graham Pike, long term recreational fishing advisor and former representative on AFMA’s Small Pelagic Fishery Resource Assessment Group.
“The Small Pelagic Fishery plays the most important role in Australia’s offshore game fishing industry. AFMA has failed to recognise this importance and chosen to support overseas interests instead of Australian fishers who contribute to a multi-billion dollar game fishing industry,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club. “Industrial factory trawlers are a low value, high impact industry that directly threatens our high value, low impact recreational fisheries across southern Australia, and only a ban on factory freezer trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery will end this conflict.”
“Community action against factory trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery has been extraordinary with 230,000 petitioners, 21 fishing rallies and events across Australia, over 37,000 emails and hundreds of calls to Members of Parliament. Prime Minister Turnbull now has an opportunity to end this conflict and protect Australian coastal communities ahead of the coming federal election,” concluded Ms Hubbard.