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Liberal Government Must Turn Back This Boat

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Thursday, 25 June 2015

Tags: Super Trawler, Recreational Fishing, Wild Fisheries

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Primary Industry spokesperson

Minister Rockliff needs to reveal to the Tasmanian public the intentions of the State government, and, importantly, what communication he has had with his Federal counterparts, regarding the ongoing debacle that is the Geelong Star.

This vessel is running into problem after problem, especially concerning by-catch and the significant loss of marine mammal life, in only a few months since it began operations in Australian waters.

We’ve seen AFMA respond by imposing various restrictions and equipment modifications, however despite the assertions that there would be no further dolphin deaths the inevitable has occurred and now the trawler is banned from fishing Commonwealth waters off the coast of NSW until the end of the year.

The South Australian Fisheries Minister has expressed serious concern for the depletion of sardine stocks in their waters.  Victorian Labor and Liberal MPs have shown genuine lack of support for the Geelong Star’s continued operation, and even the Federal Liberal Environment Minister has expressed “outrage” at the loss of marine mammal life.

This trawler has become so unwelcome around the Nation that if the Tasmanian government do not come to their senses and cease dancing to the tune of Senator Colbeck, it will only be our State that allows the Geelong Star to operate near its coastline.

The result would be absolutely devastating for Tasmanian fisheries, marine mammal life and sea life in general.  Recreational fishing would take a serious knock if this were to occur, and the only way to prevent it is for the Federal government to impose a permanent ban on this type of vessel.

State governments around the country are showing they understand the urgency of the situation.  The Tasmanian public don’t want the Geelong Star here. So, why are the Liberals so intent on supporting it?

The State Liberals need to show respect for the people who took them at their word, and voted them in, by protecting our marine life, fish stocks and local industries from the plundering of factory freezer trawlers. Anything less would be a clear indication that Colbeck and Abetz are indeed pulling the strings of the Tasmanian government.