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Super trawler ban passes through Senate

THE Senate has passed legislation that effectively stops the super trawler the Abel Tasman operating in Australian waters for up to two years.

The two-year ban on the factory ship is set to become law after clearing its final parliamentary hurdle this morning.

The legislation, which passed through the lower house last week, will ban the Abel Tasman (formerly the Margiris) from operating in Australia’s waters for two years while scientific work is carried out to determine its environmental impact.

The Australian company, Seafish Tasmania, that was to operate the trawler hasn’t ruled out legal action.

“If the Government thinks we’ll just walk away, they are wrong,” said company dorector Gerry Green.

“We understand there are a number of legal and other avenues still open to us, including the option of going fishing,” he told the ABC.

“We believe strongly that, in addition to the discriminatory nature of the Minister’s intervention with legislation at the last possible moment, there have also been unfair administrative and procedural delays in a number of government agencies over the past few weeks.

A constitutional law expert believes Seafish Tasmania has little chance of compensation.

George Williams from the University of New South Wales told ABC Local Radio the Commonwealth frequently changes laws affecting individual rights, but it does not automatically give rise to compensation.

“It’s very hard to see they’ve got any particularly strong chances,” he said.

“That’s because the federal law has been drafted specifically to stymie their attempt to fish and when you’ve got a specific federal law that is dealing with this case in a way that very clearly gives the minister new, very broad powers, it’s hard to see you can do anything about that.”

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