Recreational fishers and community groups from the Stop The Trawler Alliance are urging all Senators to act to reinstate the night fishing ban on the Geelong Star. 15,000 people from across Australia have emailed Senators and Federal Members of Parliament in the last 24 hours urging them to support a disallowance motion that is being tabled in the Senate this afternoon to prevent the night fishng ban from being lifted.
The Geelong Star was banned from night fishing following the death of eight dolphins on it’s first two fishing trips. The night fishing ban was then removed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) after the operators of the Geelong Star said they couldn’t catch enough fish and make enough money without fishing at night, despite this being the best protection for avoiding killing dolphins and seals.
“More than 230,000 people have petitioned the Australian Government opposing super trawlers in the last three years, and in just 24 hours over 15,000 emails have been sent to politicians on this issue. It’s clear the community does not accept the deaths of protected marine mammals or depletion of local fisheries,” said Rebecca Hubbard from Environment Tasmania.
“The Stop the Trawler Alliance and our supporters are urging Senators to support this motion. A ban on night fishing is the best way to prevent the deaths of our protected dolphins and seals from freezer factory trawlers operating in the Small Pelagic Fishery.”
"The removal of the night ban is likely to result in more dolphins and seals being killed. The exclusion devices on the trawl nets that are supposed to protect seals and dolphins have not been properly tested, and the lack of underwater monitoring means that large numbers of dolphins and seals may be killed and we won't even know about it", said Jon Bryan from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
“We saw the horrific toll on dolphins and seals, caused by the Geelong Star when it first started fishing,” said Tooni Mahto from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
“Backtracking on efforts to protect dolphins in the interests of opening up fishing operations defies logic, and has been a deeply unpopular move in the community.”
“Night trawling is another way to keep the Geelong Star out of the public's view. Recreational fishers around the country are already concerned about the secrecy that surrounds the operations of this super trawler,” said Nobby Clark from the Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.
"We don't know where they're going, what they're catching and how that is impacting on local fishing. This needs to stop.”