Anglers unite to oppose “super freezer” bid

IN a bid to curtail Seafish Tasmania’s proposal to operate banned super trawler Abel Tasman as a “floating freezer” in Australian waters, the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) with assistance from the Tasmanian Association for Recreational Fishing (TARfish) has lodged a submission with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to oppose the plan.

The crux of ARFF’s argument is that the Seafish proposal still relies on the super trawler being involved in fishing activity, of which it has been banned from doing so in Australia for a period of two years.

(ARFF’s submission is reprinted in full below)

AFMA Consultation
Box 7051
Canberra Business Centre

Dear Sir Madam

The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) provides the following response to the request by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) for comment on “an application to allow fish to be transshipped in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery”.

The ARFF does not support the application. ARFF asks AFMA to refer the application to the Minister for Fisheries and the Minister for Environment for clarification and consideration under Chapter 5B (Declared Fishing Activities) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
ARFF will reassess its position on the application once the nature of the applicantion has been clarified by the Ministers.

The reasons for our recommendation are;

1. We understand the application involves the use of the FV Abel Tasman that has already been referred to the Expert Panel under 5B of the EPBC Act 1999 as a ‘declared fishing activity’. The EPBC Act uses the same definition of ‘fishing’ as the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Part 4 Interpretation

fishing means:

(g) the processing, carrying or transhipping of fish that have been taken.

Our understanding of this interpretation is that the FV Abel Tasman is still defined as a ‘declared fishing activity’ as it will be undertaking ‘processing’ activities. We Ask AFMA to refer the application to the Minster for Fisheries and the Minister for Environment for clarification on this issue.

2. The ARFF position on the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) has not changed. It is the ARFF position that there needs to be better science conducted to determine potential effects on the stock and movement of the SPF before there is any decision made on how the fishery should be fished. Particularly when the proposed fishing methods fall outside the realm of existing science in relation to potential impact.

3. The Minister for Fisheries is currently conducting a review of the Fisheries Management and Administration Acts. We consider it appropriate that this review is completed to assist in the assessment of this application.

Please contact us if there are any aspects of this submission that you require further clarification on.

Yours Sincerely

Allan Hansard, (Director ARFF)

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