IN THE NEWS: Tasmania progresses towards supertrawler ban


IN THE NEWS: On APR 18, 2017

Controversial super trawlers are about to be banned in Tasmanian waters as part of the commitment taken by state authorities to protect the small pelagic fishery from their impact.

To this end, the Tasmanian Government presented a bill intended to outlaw these freezer factory vessels, which received the support from the House of Assembly and will now be debated in the Upper House of Tasmania.

"Super trawlers are a threat to Tasmania's fisheries and to our recreational lifestyle, and the Government is committed to seeing the back of them," pointed out Mark Shelton, representative of the Liberal Party for Lyons.

The state Government's initiative has been welcomed by the organisation Stop the Trawler Alliance. However, both the recreational fishing and conservation communities have pointed out that most of the offshore fishing grounds where these factory freezer trawlers operate are outside the area where the Tasmanian government’s legislation can offer them meaningful protection.

Supertrawlers in the small pelagic fishery often operate on the edge of the shelf, where the small pelagic fish are most abundant. This area is located in Commonwealth-managed waters, and the Small Pelagic Fishery is a Commonwealth-managed fishery.

“The operation of supertrawlers (like the recently departed Geelong Star) is the most controversial and widely opposed fishery in recent Australian history, pointed out Adrian Meder, Marine Campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The campaigner insisted that the Tasmanian Liberals are well aware of this issue and are taking action, but wondered if “their federal counterparts are burying their heads in the sand”.

In this regard, Laura Kelly, Strategy Director for Environment Tasmania, stressed that the Turnbull government knows there is another large scale industrial fishing proposal for the small pelagic fishery on the horizon and that they know this time with a slightly smaller boat or some other tricky proposal.

“Why else would they continue to ignore ongoing community opposition even after the Geelong Star departed our shores?” she concluded.

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