Australia bans supertrawler for two years
Supertrawler Abel Tasman had been banned from operating for two years
Environment minister, Tony Burke, has banned supertrawlers from fishing in Australia’s southern waters for two years, while experts carry out assessments on the possible impact on species including seals and dolphins.
The supertrawler Abel Tasman had been banned from operating for 60 days in September but on Monday the ban was extended to the maximum 24 months allowed.
As a vessel of this nature has never been used in Australian waters, the government and scientists are unsure of what impact it will have on threatened species. However, despite the size of the vessel (142m), it would still have been required to fish within its existing quota, which had already been agreed.
Speaking on Australian radio, Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen said that this ban has left the company millions of dollars out of pocket, and that he is trying to seek advice from the government on whether the company can use a smaller factory trawler of at least 90m to fish its quota, but the government will not advise him.
"It's a very uncertain time for us and what we really need here is some advice from government about what is acceptable and then we can make new plans as to whether it's feasible to bring in a vessel to catch our quota," he said.
"We've been trying to engage with the government on this for weeks and nobody will talk to us. We need to fish our quota, we are a fishing company but we are not going to bring a vessel halfway around the world again without some concrete guidance."
He said that fisheries minister Joe Ludwig advised Seafish Tasmania to speak to Mr Burke, and Mr Burke said that he was unable to give advice.
Mr Geen said that if he can not get the advice he needs from the government, the company will consider its legal options.
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