The operator of the world’s second largest super trawler says he is ‘pleased’1 with conditions set by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke2 and hopes to be fishing in Australian seas within a fortnight. Whilst the Environment Minister says he’s powerless to stop the super trawler, we know that Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig does have the power to stop the super trawler if we show him the community will not let him duck this issue.
Why would the operator of the super trawler, a massive factory ship which trawls 24 hours a day dragging a huge net along the bottom of the ocean catching everything in its path, be pleased with conditions the government says will protect threatened marine life? Probably because the conditions won’t do much. Here’s why:
The conditions do nothing to address the concerns of recreational or commercial fishers and conservationists in relation to local overexploitation 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 then 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 to other marine wildlife who may lose their food source such as penguins, tuna, seals, whales and dolphins.
It’s high time Joe Ludwig took action 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 to protect Australia’s fisheries and marine life from super trawlers. Let him know that you want him to stand up for oceans by emailing him:
The super trawler is on the run, trying to avoid public opposition. Originally it was to dock in Tasmania but after after all parties in the Tasmania parliament passed a motion opposing it they moved to Port Lincoln in remote South Australia. Yesterday the South Australian state government wrote to Minster Joe Ludwig voicing their opposition to the super trawler. Now the super trawler wants to dock in Queensland instead!
Minister Joe Ludwig is the one person with the power to stop the trawler and has yet to make a decision. In exceptional circumstances he can direct the Australian Fisheries Mangament Authority as to what to do - but he won’t unless he continues to hear from all of us.
Can you join with the Tasmanian and South Australian governments and by sending Senator Ludwig a clear message that Australians everywhere are opposed to the super trawler?
As fisheries around the world collapse from over-fishing and environmental degradation industrial-scale factory ships are looking for new areas to move into and they have Australia in their sights. Let’s send a clear message to the government: not in our seas.
Thanks for all you do,
The GetUp team.