The Stop the Trawler Alliance welcomed Federal Labor’s commitment today to ban all super trawlers from Australia’s ecologically precious Small Pelagic Fishery.
Following concerted pressure and community backlash in Tasmania in particular, the Coalition government banned fishing vessels over 130m length from this fishery in 2014. However this only ruled out only a tiny handful of vessels in the global fleet. As demonstrated by the 95m Geelong Star, which unsuccessfully fished the Small Pelagic Fishery in 2015-16, this ban offered no meaningful protection for our oceans. The Geelong Star abandoned fishing our waters after failing to turn a profit and catching and killing unacceptable numbers of protected seals, dolphins and even a whale shark.
Federal Labor’s policy, if implemented, ensures that our small pelagic fish resources will not be industrialised.
“Australia’s small pelagic fish stocks are vital to the health of our oceans. They form the base of our marine food chains and are critical to supporting our marine wildlife and valuable tourism and recreational fisheries” said Adrian Meder, AMCS Fisheries Campaigner.
“On behalf of the community, the Stop the Trawler Alliance has been calling for a meaningful ban on factory freezer trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery for many years. We welcome this commitment,” said Laura Kelly, from Environment Tasmania.
“This announcement gives the fishing industry certainty that their reputation will no longer be tarnished by poorly-supported attempts to industrialise our Small Pelagic Fishery”
“The Australian community now has hope that industrial fishing through super trawlers may finally be ruled out of our oceans. The current 130m ban on fishing vessels is nothing more than smoke and mirrors” said Tasmanian recreational fisher Nobby Clark.
“We call on all parties to commit to banning supertrawlers, and call on the current government to introduce the ban as a matter of urgency,” said Jon Bryan from the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. “This ban will give significant protection to recreational fisheries and the marine environment.”
Australia should not be seeking to industrialise marginal fisheries by introducing fishing that has been banned elsewhere. Instead we should be aiming to do our best with the precious fishery resources we have already developed. Our Small Pelagic Fishery resource is most valuable when it is supporting marine wildlife, tourism and our recreational fisheries; not being shipped overseas for a few pennies or ground into aquaculture feed.
Adrian Meder 0414 814 981
Jon Bryan, Tasmanian Conservation Trust 0428 303 116
Neil ‘Nobby’ Clark, Recreational fisher, 0438 394 124