Supertrawlers will be permanently banned from Australian waters, the federal government announced on Wednesday.
The move follows the temporary bans on supertrawlers imposed by the Labor government two years ago and re-endorsed by Tony Abbott in March. The first ban expired in November and the second was up for review in April.
The parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Richard Colbeck, said the government would stop vessels longer than 130m from fishing in Australian waters.
This definition of supertrawler does not take into account the processing capacity of a vessel, which proponents of the ban say is just as critical as the size of the vessel.
“This government will introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to give effect to this decision,” Colbeck said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon. “This decision will have policy effect immediately.”
Colbeck said the government “has consulted widely and accepts the legitimate concerns of many in the community, including those involved in recreational and commercial fishing”.
“The government is determined that Australian fisheries management remain among the best in the world,” the statement said.
Labor banned supertrawlers, or large freezer-factory vessels, after outcry from the public. The Stop the Supertrawler petition has nearly 63,000 signatures.
“Supertrawlers are large freezer-factory fishing trawlers that threaten our unique marine life and fisheries, and the recreational fishing, commercial fishing and tourism industries that rely on these,” the petition said.
“Supertrawlers are part of a global problem that has led to the devastation of the world’s fisheries, marine life and local livelihoods, and we don’t want that kind of fishing in Australia.”
Abbott addressed the House of Representatives in March, saying: “The supertrawler was banned from Australian waters … it was banned with the support of members on this side of the house. It was banned. It will stay banned.”
Source: The Guardian