The State House of Assembly will this week have the opportunity to formally vote upon the matter of the latest proposed industrial factory freezer supertrawler, the Geelong Star, and its operation in the small pelagic fishery.
“The Greens’ motion tabled today seeks to give voice to all those Tasmanians, recreational and local commercial fishers and their communities, eco-tourism operators, and others all of whom are outraged that once again we are having to defend our fisheries from the onslaught of a huge industrial floating fish factory,” Greens Leader and Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“If passed, the motion will see the Speaker formally write to the Commonwealth stating concerns over the proposed Geelong Star operations, and calling for it to cease while concerns over its impact upon the fishery, including local depletion of fish stocks, are addressed.”
“In 2012 the three Parties in the Assembly stood together to provide tripartite support for a Greens’ motion calling for a similar representation to be made to the Commonwealth over the proposed FV Magiris small pelagic fishery operation.”
“Federal Member for Braddon, Brett Whiteley last week acknowledged the real and serious concerns that stakeholders have put to him including those to do with local depletion of fish stocks and inadequate egg surveys.”
“Despite the lure of this factory freezer using Geelong as its home port and the promise of jobs there, the Victorian Agriculture Minister has also raised concerns over the impact upon the fishery directly with the Federal Minister and called for the Commonwealth to take a precautionary principle.”
“The Geelong Star offers nothing to the Tasmanian community or to our economy. Instead it risks gutting this fishery and impacting upon other marine species including seals and dolphins, as well as risks other local businesses reliant upon the health and integrity of our marine environment.”
“Those who turned out to the rallies in the north and south over the weekend will be watching closely to see whether the state Labor and Liberal parties take the opportunity presented by this motion to stand up to the Commonwealth, and stand up for local fisheries,” Mr Booth said.
The motion calling for a formal objection to be raised with the Federal Minister over the Geelong Star operation will be debated during the Greens’ private member’s time this Wednesday, with debate commencing at 5pm and the vote occurring at 6pm.
Text of Motion tabled by Greens Leader Kim Booth MP:
That the House:
Notes the previous tripartite position voted upon by this place on the 22 August 2012, responding to the serious community concerns over the impact of the previous factory freezer super trawler, the FV Margiris would have if allowed to operate in Australian waters to fish the small pelagic fishery;
Acknowledges the equally serious concerns held by local Tasmanian recreational and commercial fishing communities to the proposed new industrial factory freezer supertrawler, the Geelong Star, and its operation in the small pelagic fishery where it has a quota of 16, 500 tonnes of local fish stock;
Notes these concerns include, but are not limited to, localised depletion and its impact upon other species including the endangered bluefin tuna;
Notes the Geelong Star will be ported in Geelong and will not provide local jobs;
Acknowledges the fishing in Commonwealth waters and the setting of quota in those waters is the responsibility of Federal authorities, yet also notes and welcomes the recent public statement made by the current Victorian State Agriculture Minister, the Hon. Jaala Pulford, on the 22nd of March this year, in which she states, “I am very concerned about the proposed commercial fishing operations of the Super Trawler – the Geelong Star, in the Commonwealth’s Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF). I have voiced these concerns directly with Commonwealth Senator, Richard Colbeck” and further, “ a precautionary approach should be taken by the Commonwealth.”;
Agrees it is an appropriate role of State Parliament’s to stand up for local communities and represent their best interests to the Commonwealth;
Reiterates its commitment to the need for a balanced approach between the needs of a sustainable commercial fishing industry, access for recreational fishers and appropriate marine conservation outcomes; and
Requests the Speaker to write to the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the Hon. Barnaby Joyce and the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, to advise that the House will not support the Geelong Star, or any other factory freezer trawler, operating in Australian waters and waters around Tasmania, as the Parliament’s concerns over the adverse risk presented by the vessel and the proposed harvest strategy to the fishery have yet to be adequately addressed.