Oz government acts to stop super trawler
Tony Burke plans to prevent the Abel Tasman fishing in Australian waters
Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has announced plans to prevent super trawler FV Abel Tasman (formerly FV Margiris) fishing in Australian waters.
“If we get this wrong there are risks to the environment, to commercial operators and to everyone who loves fishing and they are risks I am not prepared to take,” Mr Burke said.
He said that the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act needs to be updated so that it can deal with a fishing vessel of this capacity, as there has never been one in Australia before.
The amendment to the EPBC Act will prohibit the super trawler engaging in a declared fishing activity in Commonwealth waters while a further assessment is undertaken by an expert panel that will report directly to the Minister.
Last week Mr Burke used his powers to ensure all legal steps are being taken by the super trawler to limit its impact on any listed species, but he says he wants to do more.
“At the moment there are no general powers in the EPBC Act to prevent new fishing vessels like the FV Abel Tasman from fishing while further scientific assessments are undertaken,” he said.
“If the amendment I am proposing is passed by the parliament I will be able to work with the Fisheries Minister to set up an expert panel to conduct an assessment of all of the potential impacts of the FV Abel Tasman before it can be given approval to fish in Commonwealth waters.
“Until this expert panel has reported to the parliament on their assessment, the declared fishing activity will be prohibited. We are not in the business of taking big risks with the ocean which is why Australia has the best-managed and most sustainable fisheries in the world,” Mr Burke said.
The 142m super trawler is currently docked at Port Lincoln in South Australia.
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