MEDIA RELEASE - 18 March 2015
Independent, Labor and Greens Federal politicians have accepted 75,000 petitioners’ names calling for a permanent ban on large freezer factory trawlers on behalf of Federal Parliament. Two Victorian groups have also joined the Stop the Trawler Alliance vowing to stop a new factory freezer trawler, the Dirk Dirk (aka Geelong Star), from birthing in Geelong.
“Today we are delivering a petition signed by 75,000 people against the introduction of industrial freezer, factory trawlers into our waters. We have Labor, Greens and Independents all coming out in support of better protection of our fisheries and marine life, whilst Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck refuses to listen to the people and is instead welcoming a new factory trawler in,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance.
“The new factory trawler proposing to fish will be the largest freezer factory trawler to ever operate in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery, and poses significant threats to protected dolphins, seals and seabirds. Senator Colbeck has not followed expert advice and required 100% observer coverage and video monitoring,” said Jon Bryan, of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
“Victorians and Geelong residents are starting to get very worried about the impacts this new factory trawler the Geelong Star may have on their local wildlife and fisheries. We are holding a rally on the Geelong Foreshore alongside the Pyrtek Fishing Competition on Sunday 22nd March to show that this freezer, factory trawler won’t be accepted here,” said Sharon Lee of Victorian Marine Animal Defenders.
“My members feel they have had the wool pulled over their eyes by Tony Abbott after he said his government would ban Super Trawlers. We though he was going to genuinely protect our fishery. Clearly he isn’t and is out of touch with recreational fishers on this issue. He seems destined to be satisfied to sell off our bait stocks for as little as 10 cents a kilogram,” said John Edwards of the Tuna Club of Tasmania.
“We continue to tell this government that large scale industrial fishing in the Small Pelagic Fishery is not the highest value best use of the fishery. Protecting the fish stock so Australia’s multibillion dollar recreational fishery can continue to grow and provide economic and social worth to Australian small business and recreational fishing families is. Why should Australia be lining the pockets of a Dutch trawler owner,” continued Mr Edwards.
“Victorians have a legacy of looking after our marine environment and strong ties to the coast, and we are not impressed that a Tasmanian company are now bringing their giant foreign factory trawler to Geelong. Victorian coastal communities will not sit back and take this on the chin, and we expect Victorian Federal politicians to act,” said Nick Roberts of Environment Victoria.
“The combination of environmental, social and economic impacts of factory freezer trawlers in Australian waters could be devastating for our coastal communities and oceans. With Victorian communities starting to rise up, it’s time for Prime Minister Abbott to deliver on his promise to keep industrial freezer trawlers out of Australian waters and secure the future of our fisheries,” concluded Ms Hubbard.