Super trawler offers to cut Australian catch
The operator of the banned super trawler Abel Tasman is refusing to give up the fight to fish in Australian waters and is offering to reduce the controversial ship’s catch.
Seafish Tasmania says it has addressed federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s concerns with an offer to use less than half of the factory ship's freezing capacity and to move on from fishing areas once a certain tonnage is caught.
The 142m long, Dutch-owned ship, which remains stuck in Port Lincoln, was effectively banned last month when the federal government extended the powers of the environment minister.
Under the new rules, the minister can ban the trawler for two years while scientific studies address concerns.
But Seafish has used a right of reply to argue the minister should not make the ban official on the due date of 20 November.
“We have answered all of Minister Burke’s concerns,” Seafish director Gerry Geen said in a statement.
“The Abel Tasman operating under Minister Burke’s own, strict environmental conditions will have no greater impact than a smaller vessel and is likely to have a lesser impact because of its fishery-wide operations.
“Therefore, rather than issuing a final declaration, we ask the minister to allow a comprehensive scientific assessment of the environmental impact of the Abel Tasman's fishing operations while the vessel is allowed to engage in a restricted set of fishing activities over an initial 12-month period.”
Seafish says a “move-on provision” will limit the catch during a six-week period to 2000 metric tons within a 100 nautical mile area.
The company says it will adopt bycatch protections insisted on by the minister, use satellite technology to track the boat and fund an egg survey for jack mackerel in the fishery.