Super trawler – dodgy name changer… NEW PETITION

The Dutch-owned FV Margiris arrived in Port Lincoln in remote South Australia six days ago, and is undergoing a makeover (including an insulting name-change to the ‘Abel Tasman’ and a local re-registration) to try and secure final approval to fish in Australian waters. Local environmental groups have submitted a petition and put pressure on the Environment Minister, who has made a limited response to concerns.

Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig is the one person with the power to stop the trawler and has yet to make a decision. He has the power, in exceptional circumstances, to direct the Australian Fisheries Management Authority what to do – but he won’t use that power unless he continues to hear from all of us.  Sign the Greens petition here –

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has responded to community concerns about the super trawler saying he is powerless to stop it, instead introducing a series of conditions to minimise the impact of the trawler on listed threatened species. Whilst it’s good to see Minister Burke using his powers to act, the conditions put in place will not stop this super trawler (or others) destroying our marine life and fisheries. Here’s why:

  • The conditions do nothing to address the concerns of conservationists and recreational or commercial fishers about local over exploitation of fish stocks
  • Most of the conditions are standard for all trawlers – such as management plans for sea birds – but this does not stop protected bird species being caught in the first place
  • The conditions allow up to 10 seals to be killed every day, if more are killed the a simple ‘review’ is triggered and the trawler is required to move 50 nautical miles. Trawlers can cover these distances in a few hours and given marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins and turtles are highly mobile this does nothing to protect them.
  • The conditions do not address the flow on effect of localised depletion of fish stocks on the marine environment or the flow on effects to other marine wildlife who may lose their food source such as penguins, tuna, seals, whales and dolphins.
  • FV Margiris is one of the world’s largest fishing vessels, dwarfing anything in the Australian fishing fleet. It looks nothing like a traditional fishing vessel. At 142 metres long and with a cargo capacity of approximately 6,200 tonnes, it is a stark example of modern fisheries.
  • This is a massive refrigerated factory vessel with a bridge at the front and a large net out the back to feed its floating processing factory. The vessel is so large that it must catch somewhere over 16,000 tonnes of fish in the small pelagic fishery to just cover its costs. This is equal to approximately half of the entire total allowable catch for the small pelagic fishery.It is now time for Joe Ludwig to use his powers as Fisheries Minister to stop super trawlers destroying our fisheries – he should use his powers under section 91 of the Fisheries Management Act, which allow him to take action in ‘exceptional circumstances’ like this to ban super trawlers from our waters. 

Tell Joe Ludwig it’s time to protect Australia’s fisheries and marine life from super trawlers – email him here: