Fishos fight super trawler
RECREATIONAL fishing groups have joined Greenpeace in calling on the Gillard Government not to allow a controversial overseas super trawler into Australian waters.
The FV Margiris - the second largest super trawler of its type in the world - plans to head to Australia next month in the hope of netting bait fish to be sold at fish markets throughout Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF), the newly formed peak body representing Australia's 5 million recreational fishers, says the 140-metre 'fish factory' will challenge Australia's sustainable fisheries.
ARFF spokesperson, Allan Hansard, says 'at an aggregate level the science tells us that the Margiris is likely to have minimal impact on total fish stocks'.
"However, we are concerned about the potential of localised depletion of fish stocks and the resulting economic and social effects on local coastal communities," Mr Hansard said.
"The science seems to be anything but definitive on this issue.
"If the Margiris positions itself off Coffs Harbour and extracts large quantities of bait fish, what will be the environmental, economic and social impacts?
"What guarantees will we have that the marine food chain will not be affected?
"What will be the effects on the local communities that rely on recreational fishing," he said.
Greenpeace has been a long-time opponent of the FV Margiris claiming it has a history of leaving collapsed fisheries and out-of-work fishermen in its wake.
"The South Pacific jack mackerel fishery, a favourite of the Margiris and the PFA, made headlines this year when fish populations plummeted by 90%," Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said.
Seafish Tasmania plans to bring the supertrawler to Australia next month to fish the east coast.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said if granted a fishing permit, the Margiris would be closely monitored.