ADELAIDE – A controversial Dutch super- trawler was expected to sail from South Australia’s Port Lincoln last night, prompting Greenpeace to call again for the federal government to cancel its licence.
A spokesman for Seafish Tasmania was unable to confirm whether the trawler was sailing yesterday.
The spokesman pointed to a research paper by the University of Tasmania’s Professor Colin Buxton and others.
The paper – a study of Australian small pelagic fishing grounds- concluded that catch quotas had only a low impact on local fish populations and ecosystems.
Greenpeace spokesman Ben Pearson said the government could stop “this marine weapon of mass destruction – and it should”.
He said the FV Margiris, renamed the Abel Tasman, was expected to depart Port Lincoln and start fishing.
On Thursday, federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said he had done all he could to restrict the ship’s operations in Australian waters but the regulations might need to be extended.
The government has imposed restrictions including a requirement to have an observer on board and to film its operations with an underwater camera.
Mr Pearson said the SA government had banned the trawler from fishing in South Australian waters.
The SA Sardine Industry Association had also called on the federal government to ban the trawler from the small pelagic fishery because it threatened the state’s million sardine industry and jobs.
“The South Australian Labor government has acted to protect its fishing industry and precious marine life,” he said.
“The federal Labor government should now act on behalf of the nation and ban this monster from Australian waters.”
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