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New 40m trawler for East Coast Small Pelagic Fishery

 A NEW 40m mid-water trawler will commence fishing the East Coast Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) with recent sightings of the boat inside Ulladulla Harbour on the NSW South Coast.

The large trawler named Saints Antonio and Giuseppe, reportedly from Port Lincoln in South Australia, will target small pelagics along the East Coast. While this boat isn’t long enough to be classified as a “super trawler”, it’s large size and capacity has local rec and commercial fishers alarmed. The arrival of the Saints Antonio and Giuseppe follows The Australian Fisheries and Management Authority’s (AFMA) controversial decision last April to substantially increase Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for slimy mackerel and other small pelagics along the East Coast.


AFMA released a statement which said this mid-water trawl operation is subject to strict rules and conditions.


“This includes a strict limit on the amount of catch that can be taken from the fishery. This ‘total allowable catch’ limit will not change with the introduction of this boat or any other boats. That is, one boat or 100 boats could fish in the SPF, and the total allowable catch would remain the same.”


A local source claims catch from the Saints Antonio and Giuseppe could be sold to a South Coast abattoir for as little as 10 cents per kilo and used as fertiliser. Fishing World is waiting on a response from the Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA) to verify these claims.


While AFMA ensures sustainability, south coast fishos are concerned localised depletion of fish stocks will take place with little regard for local economies along the coast.


More to follow.


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