The Australian Stop the Trawler Alliance of conservation, recreational fishing and tourism groups has expressed it’s outrage at learning theGeelong Star super trawler has caught a majestic whale shark, and is calling for the Turnbull Government to finally ban the factory freezer trawler from the Small Pelagic Fishery among growing international condemnation.
“The super trawler Geelong Star catching a majestic, vulnerable Whale Shark must be the last straw for its operations in Australia. Whoever industry and AFMA thought it could fool before, the game is up. Our marine life, our tourism industries and our fishing are too valuable to risk for these destructive operators,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.
AFMA has admitted that a whale shark was caught but is suggesting that it swam away freely. However claims on facebook apparently from crewmembers, suggest that they had to cut the net, after which the whale shark sank to the bottom dead.
“The catching of this whale shark will bring international criticism of Australia’s fishing industry and our fisheries management and must signal the final end for foreign freezer factory trawlers in our waters. The catching of a whale shark is abhorrent and unacceptable, even more so because it comes on top of revelations of more seal deaths in the most recent fishing trip, the death of 7 albatrosses last trip and the deaths of dolphins and seals in previous trips,” said Josh Coates of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
“Recreational fishers don’t believe that the killing of protected species and whale sharks is an acceptable part of fishing, and we have lost faith in AFMA. We want fish for the future and all the marine life that depend on it, but the Geelong Star threatens all of this and AFMA’s ongoing protection of this industry is just not good enough for Australians,” said Nobby Clark, a recreational fishing spokesman for the Stop The Trawler Alliance.
“If the catching of a whale shark by the Geelong Star is not the death knell for this monster trawler, then it must be asked who is the Turnbull Government representing? Only a ban on all freezer factory trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery will end this environmental, social and economic fiasco,” concluded Ms Hubbard.