Allowing a super trawler to operate in Australian waters without addressing all risks to our small pelagic fisheries is a disaster waiting to happen for fish stocks and local industries, Australian Greens Senator, Peter Whish-Wilson said today.
"I have been consulting with many stakeholders in the super trawler debate, and the message is clear: without answers, we cannot allow this super trawler into Australian waters.
"With so many unanswered questions, the risks to letting the super trawler operate under the current AFMA quota system and licensing arrangements are totally unacceptable.
"The trawler should not be granted a license by AFMA until key risks are first addressed, especially a scientific study on how to best manage the small pelagic fishery across the Eastern Seaboard to avoid local fish depletion issues.
"Allowing the trawler to operate without this study is simply a roll of the dice, and is unacceptable to many Tasmanians, including local fisherman and tourism operators who rely on healthy seas and ecosystems.
"How can you put in place an effective ecological and economically efficient spatial fisheries management plan without having collected adequate scientific fisheries data over the past 10 years?
"Stakeholders have been asking for this plan for months, and they want to know why AFMA still have nothing to show. We don't even know who will administer, enforce and pay for such a plan.
"I have submitted more questions to Minister Ludwig because Tasmania wants detailed information surrounding the potential operation of this controversial vessel in Australian waters.
"It's worth keeping in mind that over the history of Australian fisheries management, the best science and intentions hasn't stopped many fisheries from going into decline, and even collapse. This time we must get it right.
"We need to exercise extreme caution in how we approach what is likely to be a significant turning point in the management of the Australian small pelagic fisheries".