Super Trawler Threatens Australia’s Southern Waters

A move by a Tasmanian fishing company to introduce a super trawler into Australia’s southern waters to target small pelagic fish has met with widespread opposition from both conservationists and recreational fishers.

At 142m long, a capacity of 9,500 tonnes and a 600m long net, the FV Margiris scoops up whole schools of fish to be frozen into blocks and exported to whoever will buy them.

This vessel, and the handful of other super trawlers in her class, have been implicated in the collapse of fisheries around the world.

Consequences of a super trawler working our southern waters would likely be localised collapses of small pelagic fish, with consequences for any other species that feed on these, and also increased bycatch of marine mammals.  There is already a serious issue with the bycatch of dolphins and Australian sea lions off our southern coasts, and the introduction of this vessel can only make it worse.

The proponents claim that the escape devices built into the nets will allow marine mammals to escape, but other evidence suggests that these devices may also simply be allowing drowned animals to fall out during recovery of the nets.  It is a risk we do not need to take.

Super trawlers are about the least sustainable way to take fish, except maybe for dynamiting of coral reefs.  This low value, high risk, fishery has no place in Australian waters.  We should not be involved in this type of fishing practice.

You can take action against the super trawler online here: http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop-giant-fishing-trawler-in-tasmania

I’d urge you to do it.

If you want to find out more, follow this link to an excellent blog on marine conservation issues “Sea the Change” by a WA scientist and conservationist – http://seathechange.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-supertrawler-problem/

The Fishing Industry who Cried Wolf

Since the announcement of the new commonwealth marine parks for Australia the fishing industry has been desperate to throw mud.  In doing so, they’ve been caught out with the Government releasing the actual impact analysis for the fishing industry.

A far cry from the $4b claims made by some, the total impact of the network will be about $30m, and this is concentrated where fishing is occuring in some of the most important feeding and breeding areas for marine life.

You can see for yourself in the Government’s regulatory impact statement http://ris.finance.gov.au/2012/06/22/completing-the-commonwealth-marine-reserves-network-regulation-impact-statement-department-of-sustainability-environment-water-population-and-communities/

No one is denying there will be an impact on some fishermen when we create new marine sanctuaries, but the hysterical overreaction we have seen from the fishing industry to what is a relatively small impact won’t help them in the future with other issues they face that have much more serious consequences.

The industry is facing real problems, as evidenced by a 30% decline in the last decade.  This is due to a range of issues, but primarily restructuring of the industry (shrinking of the fleet) to address overfishing problems.

The majority of people want both a sustainable fishing industry and marine sanctuaries.  The industry should be taking confidence from that and open the doors to work towards that outcome rather than rejecting the need for change.

More information on this is available on the Conservation Council of WA blog http://ccwa.org.au/blogs/fishermen-deep-end-over-misleading-claims

Australia Announces World’s First Marine Reserve Network

It’s what we’ve been campaigning on for the last three years! If you missed the recent announcement, check out some of the details via Save Our Marine Life…

http://www.saveourmarinelife.org.au/the-tide-has-turned

Next phase is to lock this great victory in and start building on the network into the future.

Media release from Conservation Council of WA

http://ccwa.org.au/media/tide-has-turned-ocean-protection-commonwealth-marine-parks-decision

 

 

Australia Announces World’s First Marine Reserve Network

It’s what we’ve been campaigning on for the last three years! If you missed the recent announcement, check out some of the details via Save Our Marine Life…

http://www.saveourmarinelife.org.au/the-tide-has-turned

Next phase is to lock this great victory in and start building on the network into the future.

Media release from Conservation Council of WA

http://ccwa.org.au/media/tide-has-turned-ocean-protection-commonwealth-marine-parks-decision