Another million square kilometres opened to supertrawler

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FROM 1st May, more than one million square kilometres of additional offshore waters near southern and eastern Australia will open to mid-water trawling in the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF).

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) claim that SPF mid-water trawlers pose a low risk to deep water species such as orange roughy and gulper sharks and decided that many of the current closures are not required to protect these species during SPF trawler operations. 

The move follows calls from recreational and commercial fishers to review the closures.

AFMA’s CEO, Dr James Findlay said the removal of some closures in the SPF meant that mid-water trawlers, such as the Geelong Star, can now catch their fishing quota in a substantially greater area.

At the start of the next season, an additional offshore area more than 16 times the size of Tasmania will be available for mid-water trawlers in the SPF,” Findlay said.

AFMA claims that assessments show that bottom dwelling species in deep water areas are at low risk from SPF mid-water trawlers.

“With the changes, there will be more areas away from the coast for SPF operators to fish in,” Findlay said.

The total allowable catch limits for the SPF and operators are not affected by this decision.

More information about the Small Pelagic Fishery can be found on the AFMA website.

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