Anti-trawler flotilla tops 200

ANOTHER protest in Tasmania against the super trawler FV Margiris has resulted in a flotilla of more than 200 boats lining the River Derwent to oppose the ship’s arrival into Australian waters. 

According to a report in the Australian, rec fishers joined with commercial fishermen in an unlikely alliance with environmentalists and tourism operators to call on the federal government to stop the 142-metre trawler coming to Australia.

The protesters are concerned that the boat will severely deplete local baitfish stocks as well as harm populations of dolphins and seals that could be snared in its massive nets.

Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the federal government had no fisheries management plan, particularly for local depletion.

“We think the federal government’s been wrong-footed, they haven’t been prepared,” Senator Whish-Wilson said.

Federal Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig had failed to adequately address concerns raised in 25 questions about the super-trawler asked by the Greens, he said.

“We’ve received what I would classify as benign answers that didn’t provide any detail,” Senator Whish-Wilson said.

Opponents of the Margiris, which is due in Devonport this month, say the science that underpins a quota of 18,000 tonnes of redbait and jack mackerel is out of date.

Trawler operator Seafish Tasmania says it has already hired 40 staff in struggling northern Tasmania, the first step in injecting between $10 million and $15 million into the state’s economy.

Senator Whish-Wilson said the creation of those jobs had to be weighed against the potential overall effect on the state.

“Jobs are important and I totally understand that, but sometimes you have to make hard decisions and balance those short-term employment gains,” he said.

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