Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Federal Court of Australia dismisses Seafish Tasmania Supertrawler challenge

The opening paragraph of Justice Logan’s decision set the stage for his rejection of Seafish Tasmania’s challenge.

Logan wrote:

“In maritime circles, it is considered unlucky to change the name of a ship after she has first sailed: Jonathan Eyers, Don’t Shoot the Albatross!: Nautical Myths and Superstitions, Adlard Coles Nautical (an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing), 2011 … The vessel now known as the FV Abel Tasman (Abel Tasman) has, in her lifetime, undergone several such changes of name. Some who come to read what follows might consider that there is substance in the maritime superstition.”

After over 100 additional paragraphs later Logan concluded:

Seafish Tasmania is entitled to feel that it and the activities it proposed for its vessel the Abel Tasman were targeted by the Executive Government of the day via the Environment Minister and the Fisheries Minister. They were in the sense of occasioning the Amendment Act and evaluative Ministerial judgements made pursuant to powers and duties conferred by the amendments to the EPBC Act. The scale and intensity of the proposed activities were unprecedented. The then executive government was entitled to endeavour to persuade Parliament to amend the EPBC Act insofar as its Ministers believed that the existing Federal regulatory regime was inadequate to respond to the proposed activities and their possible impact. There is no suggestion in this case that the Parliament was not entitled to enact the amendments made to the EPBC Act. That Act having been amended, the Environment Minister and the Fisheries Minister were entitled on the material before them to reach agreement in respect of uncertainty and appropriateness and the Environment Minister was consequentially entitled to make each of the declarations with which this case is concerned. An initial allegation that they did so in bad faith was, quite properly, withdrawn by Seafish Tasmania for there is no evidence to support such a conclusion.

Seafish Tasmania was perfectly entitled either by the consultation which occurred or otherwise to persuade the Ministers that there was no uncertainty or that it was so minimal as not to warrant prohibition. The Ministers were not obliged to accept its submissions. Nor were they bound by views expressed by AFMA prior to the enactment of the amendments to the EPBC Act. There may very well be an element of political value judgement in decisions that, in the face of material supporting a conclusion of uncertainty, it was appropriate to prohibit nominated commercial fishing activities pending consultation or, as the case may be, a report by an expert panel. Within the bounds of legality, Ministers of State are entitled to make such judgements. The redress, if any, for such judgements is, as I have explained above, to be found in answering to Parliament and the wider court of public opinion, including the ballot box and, perhaps also, in country risk assessments by investors in respect of Australia, not in the courts.

The application must be dismissed, with costs.

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  1. mikey

    February 25, 2014 at 3:37 am

    #8 Haven’t been able to find these videos, have you actually seen them yourself, as for by-catch there will be some but midwater trawlers don’t steam around the ocean hoping for something in the net, they find what they want and then try and catch them, by-catch is a bit like what these days is called collateral damage for land based activities, cut down the native vegetation, displace any fauna, kill any that return, poison the land so native species don’t return, saw an election add with someone picking grapes tonight, wonder where that bit of land came from.

    #9 Don’t know what a Masters Fishing Licence lets you do or your life history but I still don’t think you understand how factory trawlers or the jack mackerel fishery works or has in the past.

  2. John Wade

    February 24, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Good one 7, obfuscation and mangling at its best.

    “you obviously are commenting on something you know very little about” and you would know my life history, particularly as I held and hold an Assistant Master Fisher’s Licence and Coxswain’s.

  3. max

    February 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    7 # Mikey As Pauline us to say, please explain. There are videos showing this very boat steaming along discharging tonnes of by-catch. Nets are notorious for catching fish and mammals other than the targeted species. If they have solved the problem of by-catch I would love to know how.

  4. mikey

    February 24, 2014 at 4:40 am

    #5 If that’s what’s happening when you’re catching flathead that is a problem, if you get only one unwanted fish amongst your 30,that’s around 3%, but that’s not how mid water trawling works, you obviously are commenting on something you know very little about.

  5. mark hawkes

    February 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    #5 Well, apart from sailors keeping an eye on me, I also have – The Australian Fisheries Management Authority, making sure I follow guidelines. Yes, there will be a cost, but there usually is. But I agree, it does matter. I try to go with the science because, I too, dislike the sound of an ocean vacuum cleaner, but then I’m being emotive.

  6. John Wade

    February 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Challenge to #3

    If you were stern line trawling from USS Zumwalt and you separated your 30 flathead and discarded the rest of the catch as collateral by-catch, yes it matters.

  7. john hayward

    February 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Can’t see the Abbott Gummint letting environmental matters get in the way of free enterprise.

    Noisome regulations changed While-U-Wait.

    John Hayward

  8. mark hawkes

    February 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    If I were catching flathead over the stern of the USS Zumwalt – does it matter? I can still only bag 30. If we are serious, how about we ban tins of fish for cat consumption.

  9. John Wade

    February 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    After November 2014 Barnett and Abetz will be offering SeaFish Tas a letter of introduction and a contract to do as they please in Commonwealth waters.
    The drafts are being prepared now and are flowing back and forward between departments and beneficiaries for consolidation and bomb-proofing.

  10. Russell

    February 22, 2014 at 1:38 am

    I hope it cost them a fortune.

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