Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Australia: Super trawler licence doubt

From the Mercury.com:  Super trawler licence doubt

THE controversial plan for a super trawler to fish Tasmania's waters that has gained worldwide attention could still be knocked on the head.

It was revealed yesterday the operators of the vessel were yet to apply for an operating licence.
Tasmanian Greens primary industry spokesman Kim Booth urged the public to get behind the groundswell of support for the 10,000 tonne super trawler Margiris to be banned from Commonwealth waters.
The 142m Lithuanian flagged vessel, to be operated by Seafish Tasmania, is expected to arrive at its new base of Devonport in August.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard told Federal parliament yesterday the operators of the Margiris are yet to apply for an operating licence after a question from Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Mr Booth said the issue of the super trawler was touching a nerve with the community.

"The community in Tasmania, especially the local recreational and commercial fishing groups, is giving the Feds a loud and clear message - turn back the super trawler.

"The Tasmanian community are saying protect the local fishing fleets, turn back this ocean-going vacuum cleaner.

Mr Wilkie urged the Federal Government to not allow the super trawler to fish in Australian waters.
He had a number of concerns with the super trawler that is due to arrive in Tasmania in months.

"I'm told the fisheries data used in the approval process for Seafish Tasmania's fishing quota is about a decade old and unreliable," Mr Wilkie said.

"Moreover the approved quota is not broken down into smaller limits for specific areas, which means the trawler could plunder our richest fisheries.

"If the Federal Government has any sense it will not give the floating factory approval to fish near Tasmania.
Mr Wilkie said any approval should be accompanied by "the most stringent safeguards."

Last week world champion surfer Kelly Slater and pop star Guy Sebastian joined the chorus of thousands of people concerned about the impact the super trawler would have on delicate fish stocks.

A petition started by Environment Tasmania had been signed by more than 8000 people in five days



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