NT Government says no to supertrawlers

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CHIEF Minister Adam Giles has written to the Federal Government to make it clear that a “supertrawler” operation in waters off the Northern Territory would not be welcome.

“I’ve expressed to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, that the Northern Territory Government has serious concerns around the possibility of a supertrawler pillaging our waters,” Mr Giles said.

“Fishing is an iconic recreational pursuit for Territorians and visitors alike and customary fishing is practiced across the Territory. Our waters are also home to a number of valuable commercial fisheries with scope for appropriately scaled sustainable growth.

“We don’t want to see a situation where our local operators are pushed out of the market because of large supertrawlers taking large quantities of fish stocks.

“It is important the Australian Government recognises our northern fisheries are smaller in scale than any that would sustainably accommodate extremely large vessels or supertrawlers.

The statement comes after a submission to the Senate Inquiry into supertrawlers from the Northern Territory Seafood Council (NTSC) was taken out of context in some media outlets and on social media last week.

A statement released by the NTSC said the following…

“Our submission was taken out of context as the Seafood Council does not welcome large scale or foreign fishing vessels, often referred to as “supertrawlers”, in NT waters. The fact is that there is no fishery in the Northern Territory that would be suitable for a large capacity fishing vessel. The fisheries in which these vessels operate are in waters off our southern states and not relevant to any fisheries in NT waters. The Seafood Council made a submission regarding the use of freezers on boats, which was included in the inquiry, as we represent the interests of professional fishing interests in the NT, who depend on freezing capacity, due to large distances travelled from our single port in Darwin.”

The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries will outline the Northern Territory Government’s position in a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of such supertrawlers. 

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