Super-trawler cleared to fish in Australian waters

Sep 04, 2012
Image provided by Greenpeace shows activists on an inflatable boat blocking Dutch super-trawler FV Margiris' attempt to enter Port Lincoln in South Australia on August 30. The trawler was Tuesday given the go-ahead to fish in Australian waters but with tough conditions to minimise by-catch such as dolphins, seals and sea lions.

A huge Dutch super-trawler was Tuesday given the go-ahead to fish in Australian waters but with tough conditions to minimise by-catch such as dolphins, seals and sea lions.

The 9,500-tonne FV Margiris repelled protesters to dock at Port Lincoln in South Australia last Thursday for re-flagging as an Australian vessel before its proposed deployment to Tasmania for bait-fishing.

Environment Minister Tony Burke sought legal advice about whether he could intervene over concerns that and other marine life would inadvertently get swept up in its huge nets.

But he said he had been told he does not have the power to block it fishing in .

"Under national environmental law I don't have the power to block it altogether," he told , but said the trawler's operators would have to prove they were doing everything necessary to minimise by-catch.

Graphic fact file on a 9,500-tonne, 143-metre, fishing vessel that has been given the go-ahead to trawl Australian waters.

"What I do have is the legal power to impose a number of restrictions on it based on the impact it can have, not on the that it's targeting, but on the by-catch—the seals, the dolphins, the fish that are protected and listed and I have responsibility for," Burke said.

"The big vessel will have to fish within the rules so that the impact it has on the environment is no more than if it was fishing on a small vessel," he added.

Under conditions imposed by the government, fishing will have to be suspended if a dolphin dies in the ship's nets or if three or more seals perish. It will also be banned from sea lion hunting grounds.

The trawler will also be required to have an observer on board and to record its activities on an underwater camera.

The 143-metre (469-foot) Margiris sparked protests among conservation groups and local when it was announced earlier this year that it would fish off Tasmania.

Image provided by Greenpeace shows activists on an inflatable boat blocking Dutch super-trawler FV Margiris' attempt to enter Port Lincoln in South Australia on August 30. The trawler's operators would have to prove they were doing everything necessary to minimise by-catch.

The Tasmanian behind the Margiris venture said the restrictions were acceptable, and workable.

"I think what he's suggesting sounds reasonable, and we'll certainly study those conditions very closely," Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen told the broadcaster.

"But on the face of it I think that they're the sort of measures that will help us to reduce by-catch down to a very low level and we'll be very pleased to go along with them."

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has dismissed concerns about over-fishing, saying the trawler would be allowed to catch just 10 percent of available fish and would have little if any impact on the broader eco-system.

Explore further: Campaigners say protected birds in danger in Malta

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hong Kong bans trawling to save fish stocks

May 20, 2011

Hong Kong has banned trawl fishing in its waters, a decision welcomed by conservationists Friday as a crucial move to save fish stocks and revive the city's depleted marine environment.

Harvesting of small fish species should be cut: study

Jul 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research on the fishing of small fish species near the bottom of their food chains suggests harvesting at levels previously thought to be sustainable could have devastating effects on ...

High-Tech fishing net finalist for Dyson Award

Aug 31, 2012

(Phys.org)—Dan Watson, a Glasgow School of Art graduate, has won the UK leg of the James Dyson award for his innovative fishing net rings that light up and guide smaller fish through nets meant for larger ...

Growing seal population threatens small-scale fishing

May 10, 2011

Seals and the fishing industry compete for fish of all types – no matter whether it is salmon, whitefish, herring or cod. Seal-safe fishing gear is the most sustainable solution, and we need knowledge ...

Greenpeace takes on tuna fishing

Apr 23, 2008

Greenpeace says it confronted a U.S. tuna boat in the South Pacific this week as part of an effort to fight overfishing by commercial fishing fleets.

Recommended for you

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —When Antonio DiTommaso, a Cornell weed ecologist, first spotted pale swallow-wort in 2001, he was puzzled by it. Soon he noticed many Cornell old-field edges were overrun with the weedy vines. ...

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

Apr 23, 2014

Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools, according to results published April 23, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna from The University of Wes ...

Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

Apr 23, 2014

A team of researchers including University of Wyoming scientists has documented the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, the latest development in an initiative to understand and conserve ungulate ...

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

Apr 23, 2014

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Egleton
not rated yet Sep 04, 2012
I suppose that they will only be allowed to harvest big fish. Guess what size fish we are selecting for.
Eventually we will be using mosquito nets for trawling.

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...