A few weeks back I wrote about the arrival of the super trawler Margiris in Australian waters and the concerns Greenpeace and some in the local fishing industry had regarding its activities.
Just to briefly recap, the FV Margiris (which was renamed to the Abel Tasman to give it a faux Aussie flavor I guess) isn’t the average fishing trawler – at 142 metres (465 feet) long, it’s a monstrous vessel with cavernous holds – the second largest vessel of its kind in the world. Its operators had been granted a quota of 18,000,000 kilograms of fish.
Greenpeace and others including GetUp! put up a fight with petitions and by enlisting the assistance of thousands of supporters who wrote directly to ministers and the media.
I really thought this was a done deal, that no amount of protest would turn back the tide in the short term as at that point, the Margiris was basically on our doorstep and to commence operations very soon after 7 years of negotiations with our government.
However, a few hours ago, Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced new laws that will ban the super trawler from operating in our waters up to two years; allowing the government enough time to have further scientific research conducted concerning the impact of such a vessel.
Additionally, our Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig also announced a review of Australian fisheries management legislation due to concerns about super trawlers devastating fish stocks and non-target species, including dolphins and seals.
It’s great news and always fantastic to see a people power victory, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that *all* environmental victories are only temporary.
Wherever there are resources to plunder and whether it’s next year or a hundred years from now; they’ll be threatened by some form of human activity again ..and again .. and again.
Still, it does go to show when people mobilise and organise, positive change can occur very quickly.