Catch of the Day – That Big Ass Trawler

‘Abel Tasman’ Super Trawler

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or stuck in technological time warp. I am sure you’ve cottoned on to the fact that we’ve had a big ass super trawler hanging about our shores of late.

As a product of Gen Y, I know I’ve grown accustomed to the ever-constant rant about societies environmental impact on the world. We basically don’t have an O-zone layer right? And you know, while I call it a ‘rant’ I am actually really interested in knowing what is happening to our environment. I’d love to be able to click my fingers and for the world to be back to it’s old self. But that’s not going to happen. So instead I find it is important to keep up with politics in order to assure a brighter future for myself and for future generations. So at the moment, this ‘big ass’ super trawler seems to be a bit of an issue, let me inform you of what’s going on in the political atmosphere in regards to it.

Once again here’s a simple 200-ish word summary…

Earlier this week Environmental Minister Tony Burke put forth a new legislation to ban the super-trawler coined ‘Abel Tasman’ from fishing in our waters for the next two years. If Burke were to get his way he would be making changes to the Environmental Act set forth by Chris Thomson (bet you’ve heard of him!). However, Opposition leaders chose not to support the proposed amendments.


Well the Opposition based their decision on the research that currently stands and was set forth by The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). This plainly asserts that there is ‘no evidence’ that larger trawlers pose any greater risk. Further, they state that all claims in regards to the impact of the trawler have been disputed by fisheries scientists as well as the AFMA. According to the AFMA the trawler meets all rules, and regulations and it is noted that it “is not at all the biggest net in the current Australian fishing fleet”.

Surely the Greens had something to say about this?

They did. Of course.

The Greens and Get Up! put forth a stringent campaign outlining a range of issues that had not been ‘adequately addressed by the scientific community’ in regards to this Super Trawler. Such include;

–       The effect that over-fishing can have on the food chain.

–       Super trawlers having previously destroyed areas of the ocean which were otherwise deemed by scientist as ‘impossible’ to over-fish.

–       The trawler could easily catch non-targeted fish and mammals of which provisions for this are not adequate – “The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 allows for up to 10 seals to be killed per day before before a review is triggered and the trawler is required to move on”

–       Recent stock assessments of the levels of pelagic fish are not up to date

And there are many more. Check out other issues here –

Basically Labor took what the Greens and Getup! were harping on about into account and thus this proposed legislation came about. Labor’s intent on implementing a two-year ban on the Abel Tasman was to allow time for a panel of scientists to gather scientific evidence into the impact of this large-scale fishing joint.

Once again a clash of the two major parties. Who would have thought?

In the end it was up to the Independents to decide yesterday afternoon. Independent MP’s Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Craig Thomson all supported the bill, with it ultimately passing the House of Representatives.

Which means…


However, the Greens amendment to ban all super trawlers for good did not pass.

Do you think banning the Abel Tasman was a good decision? Should Super Trawlers be banned for good?


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