A TWO-YEAR ban on a controversial super trawler has been welcomed by Warrnambool district recreational anglers who fear for the future of the region’s fish stocks if the project is approved.
Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday announced the initial 60-day ban would be extended from midnight while environmental impacts were assessed. “During this time (60 days) I invited and considered written submissions from fishing businesses,” he said.
“After considering the matters raised in the submissions, I am of the view that there is uncertainty about the environmental impacts of this type of fishing operation and it is appropriate to prohibit it while it is assessed by an expert panel.”
The decision could lead to legal action by the trawler’s operator, Seafish Tasmania. Mr Burke said the government was on “completely strong legal ground” to counter any compensation claims or legal challenges.
Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club president Bruce Ludeman said while the extension was welcomed there were continuing concerns about the future.
“A two-year ban is not enough,” he said. “Wherever this trawler has been in other parts of the world it’s damaged the ocean.
“It’s ridiculous that last week the government approved more marine park extensions which would lock out fishermen yet the same government had given permission for this trawler to operate until widespread concerns caused a re-think.”