Factory Trawler Cries Poor at Dolphin Protection Measures


The Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association has started crying poor about management measures to protect dolphins and seals from being killed in their enormous nets, after saying they would happily play by the rules. The Stop the Trawler Alliance is concerned that the factory trawler operators are now going to push for their economic interest to be put ahead of the interests of our environment. 

“The super trawler operators are now crying poor because they don’t want to play by the management rules put in place to protect our marine life. The vast majority of the Australian public opposes the operation of this industrial fishing trawler in our waters, and suggesting that their economic interests should be put ahead of our environment is even more offensive,” said Rebecca Hubbard of Environment Tasmania.

"Claims by industry that the net barrier will stop dolphins from being injured or killed can not be backed up by evidence. Night fishing operations make it extremely difficult to stay clear of dolphins and seals, and we maintain that no night fishing by the factory trawler Geelong Star is a minimum requirement," said Jon Bryan of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. "There needs to be 100% underwater video monitoring of the net barrier and other excluder devices to ensure that they are not just dumping dead or injured animals back into the ocean before they can be seen by observers."

"We warned that dolphins and seals would be killed under AFMA's management arrangements, even before the Geelong Star started fishing in Australian waters. There will be more unnecessary deaths if AFMA does not improve its strategy to protect marine mammals. Under current arrangements it is likely that deaths and injuries will be hidden from public scrutiny."

“The industry has been claiming that there is 100,000 tons of bait fish sitting out there on shelf and now they are suggesting they can't catch any of it. You don't change fisheries management because of economics. It's bad enough they can't even afford to pay for appropriate science,” said Nobby Clark of Game Fish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club.

"The difficulties the Geelong Star is having catching small pelagic fish indicates that these fish are not as abundant as the super trawler proponents predicted. These fish are much more valuable left in the water to support ecosystem processes and recreational fisheries,” said Mr Bryan.

"Allowing the Geelong Star to continue to operate threatens important recreational fisheries and makes it harder for marine animals such as seals, dolphins and sharks to find food. It’s time the Abbott Government started listening to the Australian people and banned large factory trawlers in our Small Pelagic Fishery for good,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

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  • Robin Green
    commented 2015-09-29 03:07:37 +1000
    the aust wheat belt has displaced millions of animals to produce food. drivers accidentaly kill many animals daily all over the world. many little fish are sacrificed daily for recreational \fishing I think it is more important to produce food for every one the geelong star is a star.the very low accidental catch should be applauded.nobody wants to kill anything but even you smart arse cannot grow a vegetable without killing a weed.and I suggest you get rid of your flyspray and rat poison and invite a cane toad into your house.
  • John van den Hoff
    commented 2015-07-31 11:07:35 +1000
    Let me first say I am NOT in favour of super trawlers irresponsibly fishing down the mid trophic levels anywhere on the globe. However, if bycatch of marine mammals is an real issue then why are we concentrating our efforts on this single fishery, why not take a look at some other already established fisheries. A simple trawl (pun intended) through fisheries reports and we find significant numbers of marine mammals were bycatch in the South Australian sardine trawl fishery (now inoperative). Yet that fishery continued to fish for five years even after 12 dolphins and three seals were killed. Given the incentive and the time, that industry worked hard to decrease, but not eliminate, dolphin deaths. The Antarctic toothfish fishery is another fishery catching and killing between 2 and 6 seals per year. Those reports are open to the public yet the fisheries continue(d).

    I see below the alliance members include a number of conservation groups. I ask those groups to drop the political games and take a look at all the fisheries.

    See also this article by Colin Hunt