Following huge opposition from the Australian public and recreational fishers, the Supertrawler was booted out after wreaking havoc in Australian waters – including devastating bycatch of protected dolphins, seals, albatrosses and even a whaleshark!
But the Federal Government’s current ‘sham ban’ on supertrawlers only stops six of the world’s very largest boats greater than 130m in length. The ban doesn’t, for example, stop the Geelong Star (aka the Dutch Dirk Dirk) Supertrawler, which is still a massive 95m long.
Supertrawlers and overseas fleets are bad for marine life, bad for our local fishing communities and bad for recreational fishers.
When overseas fishing fleets were allowed into Australian waters decades ago, Australia’s fish stocks and marine life suffered from overfishing and massive under-reporting of catches. It is deeply concerning that industrial scale overseas fishing vessels could be on the way back if the government chooses to let them in through exemptions which register them as ‘Australian’ boats.
It has been confirmed under questioning in Parliament that the Australian Government has been in talks with Australian fishers in recent years about allowing overseas vessels into Australia’s waters. It still refuses to rule out this possibility.
As well as the impacts on our marine life, there would little to no benefit to Australia’s economy or regional communities. And Australia could also be exposed to the human rights and environmental abuses that countries such as New Zealand and the US have experienced. The United Nations reports that overseas fishing fleets are often linked to organised crime and the undermining of human rights and labour conditions.
Together, we stopped the Supertrawler. And together we can stop this. We are calling for a permanent ban on ALL supertrawlers in Australia’s vulnerable fisheries, and for a Senate inquiry into moves to allow overseas fishing fleets to fish in Australian waters.