AFMA under pressure to ban Geelong Star

FOLLOWING reports that the controversial Dutch-owned Geelong Star has killed dolphins and sea lions in Australian waters, rec fishers and conservation groups have pressured the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to ban the trawler. 

The calls come as a direct response to an AAP article earlier this month in which AFMA spokesman Dr James Findlay had reportedly responded to large scale opposition to the controversial trawler, by claiming Australia’s marine environment would be rigorously protected.

In the article Dr Findlay was reported to have claimed: if a single sea lion or dolphin is caught – either found dead or incapacitated in the net – fishing must immediately cease and the entire zone the vessel is allowed to operate in will be closed for up to 18 months. Similarly strict conditions also apply to seals, and The Geelong Star must steer clear of breeding colonies.

“We don’t want any of those animals caught,” Dr Findlay told AAP.

Following reporting this week of dolphin and sea lion deaths by the Geelong Star, Dr Findlay is being pressured to announce that AFMA will be banning the trawler.

In responding to claims he would shut down the Geelong Star if it caught any sea lions or dolphins, Findlay told Fisho he has been misquoted in the AAP article.

In a released statement he said “AFMA has always said that we will update the Geelong Star’s vessel management plan to take into account on the water experience.”

“Additional measures will now be imposed to protect dolphins and other marine mammals. These changes include modifications to marine mammal exclusion devices and move on provisions, day-time fishing only or requiring the vessel to return to port if further dolphins are killed.”

Fisho contacted AFMA for further clarification and was told by a spokesman that the authority does have an 18 month closure option in the Geelong Star’s Vessel Management Plan, if an Australian sea lion is caught in waters up to 130m deep off WA or SA (page 11 of VMP). 

While AFMA has confirmed that two fur seals and four dolphins were killed by the Geelong Star the incidents occurred off southern Australia and the east coast where the WA and SA closure options don’t apply. 

The spokesman also referred us to the revised Vessel Management Plan for the Geelong Star which contains the update management measures for dolphin interactions (pages 12-13).

Fisho will keep you updated on any further developments.

See AAP article HERE.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.