image

The Tasmanian Greens today joined with Tasmanian fisherman to call on the Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to keep his commitment to a two year ban on super trawlers operating in Australian waters.

Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP stood side-by-side with the Tasmanian fisherman to remind Minister Burke of his commitment to stop the super trawler because the risks to the environment, commercial operations and everyone who loves fishing were not ones that he, as Environment Minister, was willing to take.

“Minister Burke will make his announcement tomorrow as to whether he will extend the ban on the super trawler for two years,” Mr Booth said.

“We do not welcome Super Trawlers or large industrial type fishing vessels to fish in our waters until we fully understand the environmental impacts of such a large scale operation and have the scientific facts that such a vessel will not cause any localised depletion or over exploit the small pelagic fishery,” said President of the Tuna Club of Tasmania, Mr Nobby Clark. 

“95, 000 Australians signed a petition to stop the super trawler.  Almost 4000 Tasmanians signed another one.  All these people represent thousands more who believe that the operation of the super trawler poses a risk too great,” said Mr Booth.

“The initial risks that the super trawler posed to Australian fisheries and the marine ecosystem have not changed over the past 60 days.”

“Some pundits have said that the actions by Australians who care about their oceans represent mob rule. I would remind those pundits that it was only because of these actions that:

the Ombudsman was requested to review AFMA’s administrative processes in setting the Total Allowable Catch; the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies was forced to review the science used to set the quota for the fishery and found serious miscalculations; and documents released under Right to Information reveal that the commercial profits of one operator were prioritised over the long-term sustainability of our fisheries.”

“This wasn’t mob rule but a genuine concern by Australians who care about their marine environment and the long-term sustainability of their fisheries.  Their concern for long-term economic wealth generated by sustainable marine resources cannot be dismissed for the super trawler.”

“The Tuna Club of Tasmania calls on Minister Tony Burke to retain the 2 year ban on the Super Trawler Abel Tasman.  The science on the stock assessments must be reviewed and updated in this time as there is so much uncertainty about the environmental impacts which still need to be addressed,” said Mr Clark.

“Thousands of Australians are labouring under the expectation that Minister Burke stopped the super trawler. This expectation is so widespread that even the Victorian and Queensland state governments wrote to the Tasmanian Greens stating that they understood the trawler had been banned for two years,” said Mr Booth.

“We are calling on Minister Burke, on behalf of the Tasmanian and Australian community, to keep his promise to Australians and ensure that the super trawler will not be able to operate.”

Recently on Tasmanian Times:
Super Trawler science further discredited
Close AFMA, says fisheries scientist

• ABC Online: Burke confirms two-year super trawler ban

The Federal Government has decided to impose a two-year ban on the controversial super trawler, the Abel Tasman, to prevent the ship fishing in Australian waters.

Environment Minister Tony Burke issued an interim ban in September in the face of a strong community campaign, which prohibited the trawler from commercial fishing for 60 days.

That has now been extended for 24 months to allow time for an expert panel to consider the environmental impacts of large-scale trawlers.

“The challenge here has always been, a vessel of this nature had never been used in Australian waters,” Mr Burke told reporters in Canberra this afternoon.

“It did carry additional environmental challenges where, on a number of occasions, the information that I sought was not available.

“There was significant uncertainty about what the environmental consequences would be.”

Earlier this year the Abel Tasman, formerly the Margiris, was brought to Australia as part of a joint venture between Seafish Tasmania, which has a fishing quota of almost 18,000 tonnes, and a Dutch company.

The ban will apply to any vessel the size of the Abel Tasman in the Small Pelagic Fishery - an area covering waters from just above the Queensland-New South Wales border, south around the bottom of Australia to north of Perth in Western Australia.

ABC Online here

• GOOD NEWS! MINISTER BURKE BANS THE SUPER TRAWLER!
The Right Decision for our Fisheries and Oceans

Kim Booth MP
Greens Primary Industries spokesperson
Monday, 19 November 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the announcement by Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, that he will be keeping his commitment to a two year ban on super trawlers operating in Australian waters, and congratulated the Tasmanian local communities who came together and drove this successful national campaign.

Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP stood side-by-side with Tasmanian fisherman this morning to remind Minister Burke of his commitment to stop the super trawler and we now congratulate him for making the right decision.

“Minister Burke has announced that super trawlers will be banned for at least two years whilst an expert panel reviews how their operation might impact on the marine environment,” Mr Booth said.

“This decision is testimony to the effectiveness of public participation in our democracy and the Greens extend their congratulations to everyone who took the time to sign a petition, write a letter, make a phone call, undertake research or attend a public rally.” 

The Greens were the only political party that have stood up from the outset to represent community concerns and all the state MPs were privileged to work collaboratively with key stakeholders to undertake the following actions: 

• Organise the first public meeting with 400 attendees in Tasmania to bring all the stakeholders together to begin the campaign against the super trawler;
• Submit Freedom of Information requests to find out what really went on in AFMA and discovered a letter from Seafish Tasmania that reveals how commercial interests were prioritised over the sustainability of our fishery;
• Support the democratic rights of the Tasmanian community to carry out non-violent protests against the super trawler;
• Negotiate for tripartite support in Tasmania’s House of Assembly to write to Minister Burke stating Tasmania’s opposition to the super trawler;
• Write to all southern and eastern Australian states except South Australia urging them to put pressure on the Federal Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig to stop the super trawler FV Margiris operating in Australian waters; 
• Organise a petition that around 3700 Tasmanian’s signed opposing the super trawler;
• Seek to initiate an inquiry into the fishery science in Tasmania; and
• Keep the pressure on Minister Burke to extend the ban for the full two years

• Rebecca Hubbard, Tooni Mahto: Stop The Trawler Alliance Welcomes Confirmation of Super Trawler Ban

The Stop the Trawler alliance today welcomed Minister Burke’s announcement that the FV Abel Tasman (formally the Margiris) has been banned from fishing in Australian waters for the next 24 months.

“Minister Burke’s announcement is a win not only for the Australian public, but also for Australia’s oceans,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Environment Tasmania’s Marine Coordinator.

“Both the Environment and Fisheries Ministers have made the right decision in not allowing the Abel Tasman to become part of Australia’s fishing fleet,” said Tooni Mahto from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

“It’s clear information concerning the impact of the vessel on threatened species and the possibility of localised depletion of fish stocks is still outstanding,” continued Miss Mahto. “This 24 month ban gives us time for a full assessment.”

With the vessel now banned from operating in Australia over the next 24 months, it’s expected the Abel Tasman will be making plans to depart its berth in Port Lincoln.

“We fully expect to see the super trawler leaving Australia in the near future,” said Miss Hubbard. “Whilst we’re pleased the vessel cannot fish in Australia, we are still concerned about the impacts these super trawlers are having on the global marine environment.”

Minister Burke will now convene an expert panel to assess the environmental impacts of the Abel Tasman.

“We look forward to inputting into the assessment process,” said Miss Mahto. “It’s our hope that the door to super trawlers in Australian waters remains firmly closed, and that we continue to work towards a sustainable and secure fishing industry.”

Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator, Environment Tasmania
Tooni Mahto, Marine Campaigns Officer, Australian Marine Conservation Society    

• SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK

Senator for Tasmania

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Monday, November 19, 2012
       
Trawler ban: Politics wins out over science yet again


A pattern of politics winning over science continued with Labor’s announcement today it would prohibit large-scale freezer vessels from operating in Australia’s small pelagic fishery.

“As was the case with the announcement of Marine Park boundaries last week, Environment Minister Tony Burke has put politics before science yet again,” Coalition Fisheries spokesman Richard Colbeck said.

“The boundaries announced last week were more about what Tony Burke thought he could sell politically. The decision to prohibit factory freezer vessels in the small pelagic fishery is more of the same.”

Senator Colbeck said Mr Burke had trashed the reputation of Australia’s science-based fisheries management system in favour of populism, just as the Government did with the live export industry.

“All of the credible science - from SARDI, IMAS, FRDC and the CSIRO - supported the sustainability of this fishery,” he said.

“That Mr Burke constructed his own ‘uncertainty’ by not talking to any of these leading institutions is yet another indictment on the decision-making processes of this Gillard government.”

• CONGRATULATIONS TO THOSE WHO OPPOSED THE SUPER TRAWLER
Public Participation Ensures the Right Decision

Kim Booth MP
Greens Primary Industries spokesperson
Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Tasmanian Greens tabled a motion in parliament today congratulating the Tasmanian community who worked tirelessly to stop the super trawler from operating in Australian waters, and saying the Tasmanian Parliament had an important role to play in achieving this outcome.

Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that the Greens were privileged to have represented the views of all the stakeholders who value our oceans and sustainable fisheries including recreational and commercial fishers, local business owners, scientists, divers and the broader community.

“On Monday 19th November 2012, Minister Burke made the correct decision for our oceans and fisheries by extending the ban on the super trawler for the full two years.”

“By making this decision, Minister Burke has listened to the genuine concerns of the Tasmanian and Australian community, who are all stakeholders in our oceans.”

“The Tasmanian Parliament had an important role to play in achieving this win, with our tripartite motion calling on the Commnwealth to intervene.”

“Stakeholders raised numerous concerns with the Tasmanian Greens about the initial approval to allow the super trawler to fish.”

“Concerns ranged from whether due process was followed by AFMA, whether the most appropriate methodology was used to set the total allowable catch, whether a proper cost/benefit assessment of the impacts on the local economy was adequately undertaken and finally about whether there was sufficient understanding of the potential impacts on localised depletion and bycatch.”

“The campaign to inject common-sense into the flawed super trawler proposal demonstrates the benefits of public participation and non-violent protests in our democracy.”

“The Greens were the only political party that have stood up from the outset to represent community concerns and all the state MPs were privileged to work collaboratively with all stakeholders.”

Text of the MOTION

TUESDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 2012

Kim Booth MP on tomorrow to move -

That this House notes that:

1. On Monday the 19th of November this year, the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced the interim ban on the super trawler, the Abel Tasman, formally known as the FV Margiris,will be extended for the full two years;

2. The decision by Minister Burke comes at the end of a six month campaign during which key stakeholders have worked tirelessly to ensure that their political representatives make the right decision for the oceans and Australia’s fisheries;

Further, that this House congratulates and thanks:

3. All those Tasmanians who took the time to sign a petition, write a letter, make a phone call, undertake research or attend a public rally to express their concern about the operation of the super trawler; and

Finally, notes that:

4. The campaign to inject common-sense into the flawed super trawler proposal demonstrates the benefits of public participation and non-violent protests in our democracy, and recognises that if it wasn’t for public actions taken then there wouldn’t now be:

a. A review of the AFMA administrative processes by the Ombudsman;
b. A review by IMAS of the science used to set the Total Allowable Catch for the small pelagic fishery;
c. A review of Australia’s fisheries legislation to ensure the precautionary principle is accounted for; or
d. A commitment from the Federal Environment Minister for an expert panel to further consider the environmental impacts of large-scale trawlers.