The Stop the Trawler Alliance has welcomed the introduction to Tasmanian Parliament this week of legislation to ban supertrawlers from Tasmanian waters.

However, both the recreational fishing and conservation communities have pointed out that most of the offshore fishing grounds where these factory freezer trawlers operate are outside the area where the Tasmanian government’s legislation can offer them meaningful protection.

Supertrawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery often operate on the edge of the shelf, where the small pelagic fish are most abundant. This area is located in Commonwealth-managed waters, and the Small Pelagic Fishery is a Commonwealth-managed fishery.

Adrian Meder, Marine Campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), said:

“The operation of supertrawlers (like the recently departed Geelong Star) is the most controversial and widely opposed fishery in recent Australian history. The Tasmanian Liberals are well aware of this and are taking action, but are their federal counterparts burying their heads in the sand?”

“The Tasmanian Liberal Government has asked their Federal counterparts to pursue action that will protect Australians from supertrawlers for good, by introducing a permanent ban on the operation of factory freezer trawlers in the Small Pelagic Fishery.  Only action by the Federal Turnbull government can fix this problem in real terms and deliver for our oceans, and for Tasmania’s recreational fishing community.”

Laura Kelly, Strategy Director for Environment Tasmania, said:

“We think the Turnbull government knows there is another large scale industrial fishing proposal for our Small Pelagic Fishery on the horizon, maybe this time with a slightly smaller boat or some other tricky proposal. Why else would they continue to ignore ongoing community opposition even after the Geelong Star departed our shores?”