Burke blocks super trawler again

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke had made a final declaration stopping large capacity commercial fishing vessels from operating in the area of the Small Pelagic Fishery for two years.

The declaration will prevent the super trawler – the Abel Tasman, formally named the FV Margiris – from operating as a freezing and processing vessel of fish supplied by other vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery following a second proposal by Seafish Tasmania.

Mr Burke said his decision taken in consultation with Federal Fisheries Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, stops vessels with a storage capacity of 1600 tonnes or greater from conducting mid-water trawl activities or operating as a ‘mother-ship’ that receives or processes fish or fish products in the area of the Small Pelagic Fishery.

This commercial fishing activity will be banned for 24 months while an expert panel undertakes an assessment.

Last year the Government stopped the super trawler from operating in the Small Pelagic Fishery for up to two years to enable an independent assessment of the environmental impacts, particularly on species protected by Australia’s national environment law.

“The government takes a highly cautious view when it comes to protecting the ocean. We take ocean protection seriously,” Mr Burke said.

“We have acted to protect our precious oceans by creating the world’s largest network of marine parks, stopping the super trawler and putting the Ningaloo Reef on the World Heritage List.

“This final declaration made today confirms the exclusion of these commercial fishing activities while an independent expert panel undertakes a scientific assessment of their environmental impacts. I have worked closely with Minister Ludwig in making this decision.

“Decisions about commercial fishing activities must be underpinned by robust science.

“The next step is to establish an independent expert panel to conduct an assessment of the declared commercial fishing activities and report on the matter.”

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