Factory trawler returns to port after killing more dolphins

CONTROVERSIAL factory trawler Geelong Star has again been forced to stop fishing because it has caught and killed dolphins in Australian waters.

Stricter controls were placed on the trawler after four dolphins and two seals were killed during its first outing in Australian waters.

Rec fishers and conservationists have been opposed to the trawler being allowed to fish in Australian waters, fearing the impact on fish stocks and by-catch kills.

The 95-metre ship has Commonwealth approval to fish 16,500 tonnes of small pelagic fish like jack mackerel from Australian waters. In related news, AFMA has released details of revised catch limits for the Small Pelagic Fishery.

The ABC reports the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has said the killing of such marine animals was inevitable but everything possible was being done to prevent them.

The Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA) which represents the Geelong Star’s operators said the ship had stopped fishing and returned to its home port of Geelong.

“The Geelong Star operators have voluntarily agreed to suspend fishing operations following the accidental deaths of four more dolphins,” spokesman Grahame Turk said in a statement.

“These mortalities have been reported to AFMA as per the requirements of the vessel management plan.

“The SPFIA shares the wider community’s distress at the death of dolphins.

“The Geelong Star will remain at port until a comprehensive plan is put in place to give stakeholders confidence that dolphin mortalities can be avoided.”

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