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OPINION: Super trawler can be banned

The 142m super trawler that’s currently poised to exploit baitfish stocks around the southern half of the country could be immediately banned from our waters – if the federal Government has the balls to do what needs to be done.

The fact is that federal Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig has the discretionary power under Section 91 of the Fisheries Management Act to immediately ban the trawler.

This section of the Act allows him to take this action in “exceptional circumstances”. So far the Minister has avoided the issue, telling rec fishing leaders at a recent roundtable meeting that he didn’t feel it was in the “national interest” for him to stop this Dutch-owned factory ship from raping and pillaging our fish stocks.

Ludwig’s comments are symptomatic of the federal Government’s lily-livered approach to this super trawler issue. Environment Minister Tony Burke reckons he can’t do anything to stop it either – he can ban you and me from going fishing but he can’t ban a super trawler? Give me a break! Prime Minister Julia Gillard needs to step in here and tell Joe and Tony to each grow a set. If these characters really wanted to stop this trawler, they could. Their reticence to show any sort of moral leadership here is a sad indictment on how pathetic our political system has become.

It’s patently obvious that Australians don’t want this industrial fishing monstrosity plundering our seas. In my 17 years in the rec fishing industry I have never seen so many anglers so monumentally pissed off. And it’s not just fishos – the average citizen just can’t believe our Government is even considering letting this ship in.

Talk to anyone anywhere and they express disgust about the super trawler. Apart from a few cretins in the commercial fishing industry, no one wants this damn thing here. The Tasmanian and South Australian state governments have said in no uncertain terms that they don’t want this 142m fish-killing device in their waters. The greenies are going feral as well. Surely the pressure must be building on Burke and Ludwig to actually do something?

Will they respond? It’ll be interesting to see what eventuates. Meantime here’s Ludwig’s contact details. Feel free to give his office a call on 02 6277 7520 to let him know exactly how you feel about this f**ked super trawler issue. Send him an email at joe.ludwig@maff.gov.au as well. I just did – it made me feel a tiny bit better about the whole thing …

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