Super Trawler set to rape and pillage in Tasmania
The MV Margiris is set to be based in Tasmania. Read what others have to say then think about signing the petition. This is a huge boat and they WILL take a huge chunk out of the food chain. 17,500 tonnes is 17,500,000 kilograms. Can OUR waters stand it?
From the Canberra times:
"Say hello to our fishing future. It's called Margiris. If ever Australians needed convincing that the global appetite for fish is our problem too, this supertrawler is it.
Twice the size of the previous largest vessel ever to fish our Commonwealth waters, it measures 142 metres in length and weighs 9600 tonnes.
Its Dutch owners are changing its flag of registration from Lithuanian to Australian. By spring, it is scheduled to be roaming between the Tasman Sea and Western Australia in pursuit of 17,500 tonnes a year of small fish.
Tagged ... Greenpeace activists write on the side of the Margiris in the Atlantic off Mauritania. Photo: Greenpeace
But it's not simply the size of Margiris that brings home the issue of rising industrial pressure on fish stocks. It's the stark story of seafood market forces.
Last March, in the Atlantic off Mauritania, Greenpeace activists wrote "plunder" on the side of the Margiris. They are campaigning against European operators who are taking West Africa's fish, leaving locals catchless.
In Australia, the Margiris is set to catch the same sort of fish - jack mackerel, blue mackerel and redbait - and freeze them into blocks for export.
The destination of the catch?
"The large majority will go to West Africa for human consumption, as frozen whole fish," said Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen.
Australian fishers have long sought to exploit the country's so-called "small pelagics", which are prey for bigger fish such as tuna and marlin. Seafish Tasmania is partnering with ship owners Parlevliet & Van der Plas to do this on a scale previously unseen.
Alarms have been raised in other global fisheries about these mainly Europe-based small-pelagic hunters.
According to The New York Times, stocks of jack mackerel have dropped from an estimated 30 million metric tons to less than a tenth of that amount in just two decades.
The minutes of an Australian Fisheries Management Authority advisory committee show serious debate about the introduction of the Margiris.
They reveal that Mr Geen, who was on the committee, gave "background" input. But because of his conflict of interest, he did not contribute to a recommendation to double the Australian eastern jack mackerel catch to 10,000 tonnes.
This has given the single greatest fillip to the Margiris venture.
Mr Geen told the National Times the Margiris would take less than 5 per cent of the total stock of small pelagics, as measured by surveys of egg production by the target species.
"I think people are worried about the size of the vessel, but that is really irrelevant," he said. "It's the size of the total allowable catch that counts."
Other advisory committee members pointed to the ecological impact on existing fishers of taking so much of the small pelagics, even though these catches are outside state waters.
A coalition of global, national and state environment groups has written to Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig, calling for the Margiris to be banned.
Right now it's moored in the Netherlands, and Greenpeace is keeping an eye on its movements."
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/supertrawler-brings-global-problem-to-australian-waters-20120611-205b7.html#ixzz1yUNW1CDx
From the ABC
"The Greens claim a Commonwealth fishing quota has been increased to allow a super trawler to operate from Tasmania.
Seafish Tasmania plans to bring a 140-metre trawler to Devonport to fish in Commonwealth waters. (Any water more than three miles off shore in Tasmania).
The company has been granted an 18,000 tonne annual quota.
Greens Leader Nick McKim told parliament the increase had been allowed because of the super trawler, Margiris.
"The Commonwealth quota for jack mackeral will be doubled," he said.
"Now this makes a mockery of claims that it is science underpinning these decisions because, of course, the doubling has only occurred because this super trawler has applied to come down and work in Australian Commonwealth waters."
The Primary Industries and Water Minister, Bryan Green, conceded there had been an increase, but defended the amount.
"The total quota has increased by 3,800 tonnes overall which doesn't mean that there's been a doubling of the take from both red bait and jack mackerel in the eastern zone," he said.
"I'm sure if you talked to the scientists it's been raised based on the sustainability of the fishery.
"So the argument has to be whether or not this organisation, if they had three trawlers, whether that would be ok to catch the same quota; it's a bit of a flawed argument."
Also from the ABC