Dutch super-trawler hits another snag in bid to fish
CONTROVERSIAL super-trawler the MV Margiris may have to surf another hurdle before it can begin fishing after government backbencher Melissa Parke said she would introduce a bill to ban it.
CONTROVERSIAL super-trawler the MV Margiris may have to surf another hurdle before it can begin fishing after government backbencher Melissa Parke said she would introduce a bill to ban it.Ms Parke said she and her constituents had "very serious concerns about the impacts" of a super-trawler on the marine environment and would move a motion in caucus when it meets in two weeks, to push a private member's bill in Parliament.The 142-metre, Dutch-owned trawler sailed into Port Lincoln, South Australia, yesterday en route to Tasmania. Activists chained themselves to the wharf, forcing it to reverse.Seafish Tasmania has been approved to catch 18,000 tonnes of redbait and mackerel each year, a decision that has angered conservation groups and anglers, with concerns over damage to fish stocks. The ship still needs to be registered in Australia before it can fish."There are legitimate concerns about the size of the vessel, its fishing quota, and the methods it uses to catch fish," Ms Parke said. "I am also concerned about the potential for marine animals like dolphins and seals to become caught in large fishing nets."It's very clear to me that the precautionary principle has to apply in this case. Our oceans and fisheries are both too precious and too fragile to be subject to the Godzillas of the fishing world in the form of super-trawlers."The Commonwealth Ombudsman is investigating the Australian Fisheries Management Authority's approval process with a member of Seafish Tasmania also a member of the approval committee.MV Margiris, the biggest vessel approved to fish Australian waters, can process more than 250 tonnes of fish a day. Its net is up to 600 metres long, with the mouth 100 by 200 metres.Environment Minister Tony Burke has sought advice on whether he has the power to prevent or restrict the ship under environmental laws.Ms Parke said she was still considering how the bill would operate, but it would ensure that when new ship types, technologies or practices were introduced that damaged or posed unacceptable risks to oceans and fisheries, there were effective safeguards in place.