Geelong Star resumes fishing

CONTROVERSIAL fishing trawler Geelong Star has resumed fishing operations off Tasmania after the vessel’s fishing gear underwent modification in a bid to prevent more marine mammal deaths.

The 95-metre freezer factory ship had stopped fishing after killing eight dolphins and four seals on its first two trips in Australian waters.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority also restricted the Geelong Star to fishing only in daylight hours.

The vessel has now been equipped with a new mesh grid to help prevent further seal and dolphin deaths.

The ABC reports Bridport-based boat builder Allan Barnett is confident the new addition would work.

“In front of the opening of the net they’ve put like a big wall of smaller mesh across the front, so dolphins and seals can’t fit through that mesh to go down in the tunnel of that net,” he said.

Mr Barnett said the flipside was the grid could hamper attempts to catch fish.

“The problem they might have, and I’m envisaging they probably will have, it might stop the fish from going through too,” he said.

“So whether it’s still okay with their fishing side of it, I don’t know, but from a dolphin and seal point of view it will fix that.”

The boat’s exact location is unclear because it was given approval to switch off a tracking device to avoid detection by activists.

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