Super trawlers back in Australia unless Government steps in

Media Release - 19 November

With the two-year ban ending yesterday, the Stop the Trawler Alliance is calling for urgent action by the Federal Government to permanently ban super trawlers from Australian waters.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “the super trawler was banned and will stay banned”, but the Coalition has failed to back that up with legislation.

“We need to hold the Abbott government to its word and make sure Australia gets a permanent ban on super trawlers. The government must stop the threat of foreign super trawlers fishing Australian waters and place a permanent ban on these monster fishing boats,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.

“The Government appointed Expert Panel has confirmed that too little is known to accurately assess the impacts of super trawlers but acknowledged that localised depletion and the deaths of threatened species would be inevitable. Combined with the potential social and economic impacts that importing super trawlers into Australian coastal communities could have, it would be a devastating blow to people and the environment,” said Ms Hubbard.

“Australia should develop local, sustainable fishing opportunities and reject the European model which is broken.  One Dutch super trawler catches a quarter of all English fish[i], for example – it would be madness to go down that path in Australia” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

“Greenpeace has identified seven of the worst European super trawlers that could have their eyes on Australia – four of them owned by the same company as the Margiris, Parlevliet en Van Der Plas. These monsters can have nets big enough to fly an A380 through. They can process hundreds of tonnes of fish a day and operate for weeks on end. The super trawlers are used to operating illegally in Europe and abroad and abusing quotas.  This isn’t fishing, it’s pillage,” said Mr Pelle.

“Recreational fishers remain concerned that super trawlers could devastate local fish stocks and impact not only on the activities of fishers, but local industries which also rely on healthy fish stocks. Right now, the risk of super trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery far outweighs the benefits,” said Nobby Clark, GameFish Tasmania Sports Fishing Club spokesman.

“Australia has worked hard to improve its fisheries and opening the floodgates to super trawlers would be a huge leap backwards,” concluded Ms Hubbard.

Greenpeace launched a new Monster Boats report last week highlighting the twenty worst examples of European industrial fishing overcapacity.

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