Scientist warns Australia to lock out super trawler

AS pressure mounts on the federal government to block the arrival of the super trawler FV Margiris, Greenpeace has revealed that the ship’s company is being heavily subsidised by EU taxpayers.

“The Margiris – and the Dutch company that owns it – is heavily subsidised by European taxpayers. It has already used these funds to plunder fish stocks in Europe, West Africa and the Pacific and now it intends to use them to take all it can from Australian waters,” said Pavel Klinckhamers, a Greenpeace marine biologist who has tracked super trawlers around the world and has arrived in Australia to warn against the Margiris.

The conservation group says Dutch company Parlevliet & Van der Plas, owners of the Margiris, has received direct subsidies of €39m since 1994 and in recent years (2006-2011) has also received indirect subsidies within the range of €16m and €28m. A large proportion of these subsidies are used to pay for fuel with the Margiris receiving up to €4.2m every year for the past six years.

“Without subsidies from the EU, Parlevliet & Van der Plas’ profits would be significantly reduced and it could have even lost money in recent years. Super trawlers like the Margiris are highly efficient at destroying fisheries but are not efficient at making profits without subsidies,” said Klinckhamers.

“I’ve seen first-hand how these subsidised super trawlers have devastated fisheries and coastal communities in West Africa. After a vessel like the Margiris has been to visit there’s nothing left but empty oceans, destroyed livelihoods and ruined ecosystems.”

“I’m here to warn Australia. Giving this foreign fish factory access to its rich marine assets would be a colossal mistake,” said Klinckhamers.

Greenpeace is asking the Federal Government to ban all super trawlers in Australian waters.

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