Supertrawler night fishing to continue amidst planned talks

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THE Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) has called for proposed talks with the new Federal Minister for Fisheries on the fishing operations of the Geelong Star to address the concerns of recreational fishos and the hundreds of coastal communities that support them.

The call comes in the light of invitations to recreational fisher and commercial fishing representatives from Assistant Minister for Fisheries Anne Ruston to meet and talk about the operations of the Geelong Star next week.

“Our ARFF position remains unchanged and we need to be convinced that introducing industrial scale fishing practices to this fishery represents the highest and best use of this natural resource, and that it is in the national interest. ARFF continues to seek a comprehensive scientific, economic and social assessment to prove that fishing these stocks at an industrial level will not have a damaging impact on recreational fishing activity.” Allan Hansard, managing director of ARFF, said.

The announcement from ARFF comes after a motion to ban supertrawlers from night fishing failed to clear the senate late on Wednesday night. Labor and The Greens were both in favour but it was tied at 31 each so the motion was denied.

“ARFF acknowledge that in approving the Geelong Star to fish the Australian small pelagic fishery the Government has seemingly met current legislative and legal requirements. However… because the current legislation only focuses on maximising the benefit from commercial fishing activities, we do not know whether industrial scale fishing of the small pelagic fishery is the highest and best use of the resource, or whether a greater benefit for the Australian community may result from fishing the resource in a different way or not exploiting the fishery for commercial fishing purposes at all,” Mr Hansard said.

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