Super Trawler: Name-changer for Australian waters

SEAFISH Tasmania has defended its decision to change the name of the super trawler FV Margiris to the Abel Tasman. The 142-metre ship is currently docked at Port Lincoln where it awaits final approval to be reflagged as an Australian ship, before fishing its 18,000 tonne baitfish quota.

The ABC news reports that the trawler may go straight out and start fishing in Commonwealth waters without first docking in Devonport in Tasmania.

The arrival of the Margiris has been strongly opposed by rec fishers, who are concerned about the long term affects of the ship fishing for small baitfish in Commonwealth waters. Conservation groups have expressed concern that the ship will catch large number of other species.

Seafish has said the trawler’s netting operations will be overseen by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) using underwater cameras to monitor by-catch.

The ABC reports the bid to rename the vessel has angered independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie.

“To now use that man’s name which has such an important historical significance in this state, it’s almost a final insult,” he said.

Seafish director Gerry Geen defended the decision.

“We’re in a partnership with a Dutch company so we think it’s an appropriate name,” he said.

According to shipping databases, the Margiris has previously been called the Annelies Ilena, the Atlantic Star and the Siberian Enterprise.

Seafish hopes to have the super trawler renamed and approved for its fishing operations in Australia today.

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