It is not often that you see Environmentalists and Fishermen joining forces and campaigning together but in the case of the FV Margiris Super Trawler, there is no bigger fish to fry. While the Super Trawler is technically a ‘ship’ it is in actual fact a floating factory; over 142m long, weighing 9499 tonnes, with the ability to process over 250 tonnes of fish a day and has a cargo capacity of 6,200 tonnes. It is more than twice the size of any boat to have fished in Australian waters before. With such a non-selective haul ability as this, it is no wonder that we are up in arms trying to prevent this ship being allowed to fish for small pelagic fish off the Australian Coast.
If you would like to take a look at it…
What’s the problem with it?
The net of the FV Margiris is large enough to fit four 747 jumbo jets into it. With a haul of that size there is no feasible justification that a) the local ecosystem would not be dramatically (some say irreversibly) effected and b) that a huge amount of bycatch would also be trapped. Bycatch is any other marine species that is accidentally caught along with the target species and this includes dolphins, whales, turtles, seals, sharks, birds as well as a whole host of fish species.
The FV Margiris intend to target redbait, jack mackerel and blue mackerel which are all key food sources within the marine environment – and the ship would remove 18,000 tonnes of this food source (approximately 18 000 000 fish) every year! The surface schools of jack mackerel (once common off southeast Tasmania) have still not returned after the collapse of that fishery over 20 years ago and we are already loading up the gun again. I can’t believe this is even up for discussion?
Supporters of the Super Trawler are trying the standard ‘job creation’ line. The FV Margiris will employ approximately 40 people, at least 15 of which will be from overseas. There is also no formal requirement that any of the crew have to be Australian for this ship to operate in Australian waters. Regardless… it seems to me like paying $5 in bus fare to get to your friends house to borrow $5. Think about the amount of jobs will be lost when the local fisheries are fished to collapse!
Earlier this year the Australian Government made a monumental step in the right direction for marine conservation by proposing a national network of marine parks and sanctuaries (with a public approval rating of 70% – their most popular decision yet). To allow this partnership between Seafish Tasmania and FV Margiris to move forward would be a catastrophic lurch backwards. We need to speak up and let them know that there must be no Super Trawlers in Australian waters.
Sign the petition
For the Stop the Trawler petition click here .
For the Greenpeace Australia petition click here.
For the Conservation Council of WA petition click here.
And don’t stop there! Spread the word on facebook, twitter, email, word of mouth or find a mountain and shout from the top of it if you have to. Share all these links around!
Send a Letter
Email Environment Minister Tony Burke - Tony.Burke.MP@environment.gov.au
Or contact our Prime Minister Julia Gillard here
Write a letter to your local newspaper Editor!
Click through to the Stop The Trawler website for all the information you need.
Greenpeace Australia has provided a fantastic fact sheet which explains all the ins and outs of the Super Trawler debate. An invaluable resource – click here.
Click here to read through an ABC 7:30 Report Investigation into whether the FV Margiris is sustainable or destructive.
I also really liked this blog post (here) for Shape of Things to Come. It is personal, balanced and also from the perspective of a Freshwater Ecologist (who has studied fisheries science). Also provides a lot of really good links at the bottom of the page.
Read my previous blog post about the real GFC (Global Fishing Crisis) here.
No super trawlers.
A Fantastic, Stupendous, Exciting Update…
Well today (11 September, 2012) was a huge win for our oceans!! The Australian government this morning agreed that it must ban the Super Trawler from Australia’s waters for at least 2 years. Congratulations to everyone who signed a petition, attended a protest, told a friend or made any sort of noise at all! The government listened because we all took action and beat the drum for marine life and common sense in general. Isn’t it great to see that we are having some environmental wins? This news has absolutely made my year. To read more see this ABC article.