Super Trawler Divides Aussies
A fishing trawler of dimensions never before seen in Australia is about to begin operating in the nation’s waters.
The FV Margiris isn’t just a little larger – at 142 metres (465 feet) long, Greenpeace states it is twice as big as any fishing vessel ever to have worked Australian waters and is the second largest super trawler in the world.
As you may have already guessed, Greenpeace is not impressed. It says super trawlers have crashed fish stocks and robbed fishermen of jobs around the world. Senegal has banned Margiris and other super trawlers fishing in its waters after they reportedly contributed to fish stocks plummeting in the region.
I wince a little when I read these stories as in my teens I worked in the fishing industry – on trawlers, scallop dredgers, long liners, drop liners, cray (lobster) boats and seiners. I have participated in the capture of literally millions of fish and other marine creatures. I’ve watched entire schools of fish removed from the planet and cheered when it occurred for the money it would bring me. I have thrown countless thousands of “undesirable” bycatch overboard and been part of operations that rip up the ocean bottom – all legally. In those days it was still an incredibly destructive industry and I suspect karma will be paying me visits for the rest of my life.
So I get where GreenPeace is coming from as even a small trawler can do a substantial amount of damage.
Our nation’s professional fishermen have changed a lot over the years though; understanding they needed to alter their ways to ensure a sustainable fishery – in a way, it’s in their best interests to be treehuggers (fish-huggers is more appropriate I guess). That hard work in environmental stewardship may be threatened by the arrival of the Margiris.
In a petition launched by the Greenpeace, it states the global fishing fleet is 2.5 times greater than the oceans can sustain. The world’s oceans may be huge, but only a fraction of that vastness is occupied by visible marine life at any given time.
Greenpeace is calling on Australia’s Prime Minister to ban the Margiris and every other super trawler from fishing in Australian waters, “now and forever”.
ABC News Online has a more detailed analysis of the arguments for and against the trawler here.
Seafood and the environment
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