Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Giant "Super Trawler" on way to decimate Australian waters! Please sign petition....

..to protect Australian oceanic ecosystem from destruction! This "Super-Trawler - Factory" has already removed fish stocks and sea life from West African waters, and now this trawler is on its way to Australia to do the same. The plan is to remove 1800 tonnes of "target" fish (also killing thousands of tonnes more "waste" or "non-target" fish) from Australian waters between South-East and Western Australia to sell to West Africa whose waters have been emptied by the same super-trawlers! Please help stop the rape of Australian oceans! Add your voice to say no before it's too late!

Senegal has banned super-trawlers after its waters were plundered by these "Oceanic Killer" vessels. This petition is to urge the Australian Government to also ban these huge trawler-factories, before it's too late! Tell the Australian Prime Minister to ban super trawlers from Australian waters! Further articles on this devastating threat to oceanic survival can be found beneath the embedded petition.

UPDATE! Australian Federal Labor Government announced on 11/9/2012 that it intends to ban this vessel from fishing in Australian waters for two years. During that time, further research on the effects of these trawlers on oceanic ecosystems will be acquired. A temporary victory due to public pressure and the petitions signed, but still a significant one! Congratulations to everyone who signed and "shouted loud enough" for the government to hear! But we must remain vigilant to ensure that this super-trawler does not get a chance to wreak havoc with the Australian oceanic ecosystem in two years time!

Please also sign Get Up petition to stop the super-trawler here - http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/stop-giant-fishing-trawler-in-tasmania/

"Ocean Killer: This 'Super Trawler' Is a 465-Foot Floating Factory Farm" by Elissa Sursara

Fourteen state and national organizations across Australia, including Greenpeace, have partnered to push back against the FV Margiris—a 465-foot fishing vessel encroaching a pristine Australian coastline and targeting vulnerable fish stocks.

"It has a vacuum-like ability to catch and process fish in a maximum capacity—not unlike a floating factory farm."

The Margiris, part of a heavily subsidized European trawler fleet responsible for leaving behind a wake of dead fisheries from Europe to Africa and across the South Pacific, has raised concerns among marine conservationists, charter boat operators, and recreational fishermen who believe that welcoming giant fishing vessels sets a dangerous precedent that Australian waters and beyond are open to exploitive fishing.

One hundred forty two meters in length, the FV Margiris, dubbed by Greenpeace and Environment Tasmania as the ‘scary super trawler,’ is the second largest super trawler in the world. It has a vacuum-like ability to catch and process fish in a maximum capacity—not unlike a floating factory farm. Due to arrive in Tasmanian waters in August, the Margiris will net up to 18,000 tonnes of baitfish for export to Nigeria and parts of Asia for $1 per kilogram for human consumption. The vessel’s primary bait includes small jack mackerel, a species in a critical population state.

In addition, the vessel’s poorly regulated fishing capabilities do not discriminate against larger and often protected marine species like sharks, seals, dolphins, manatees and turtles that can become entangled in trawl nets and are later ejected from the vessel, dead or dying, as “waste products.”

Humans, too, suffer at the hands of trawl vessels like the Margiris. It destroyed important fish stocks in Europe, Africa, and the South Pacific during a recent brutal 18-month period. As a result, the Margiris and all other super trawlers were unanimously banned from operating in the waters off Senegal.

But no such preemptive action has been taken in Australia.

In July 2011, the Australian Government and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) confirmed it was processing the appropriate documents to “hurriedly” approve the controversial Margiris’ entry into Tasmanian waters.

Though AFMA claimed it would apply strict management regulations to the Margiris vessel (should it be granted full permission), conservationists and marine scientists believe the fisheries’ assurances are nothing more than national green washing; they believe the government has failed to propose viable management and regulation schemes and has consistently failed to apply current marine population data to the Magiris’ catch quotas, using only outdated data that, in reality, fails to reflect and safeguard more than five years of fish stock depletion.

But every cloud and fishing vessel has a silver lining.

According to Melbourne-based fisheries expert Malcolm John Moore, citizen- and community-run protest activism can and does influence government decisions, as was the case in Senegal, where, after community protests hit a political nerve, the Margiris was strictly banned.

Later, campaigners from global organizations in 2011 and 2012 confronted the Margiris as it pillaged waters in Mauritania. In early 2012, joint efforts from individuals and organizations obstructed the vessel as it fished in the Netherlands, significantly damaging quotas and calling on the attention of surrounding governments to investigate the vessel’s sustainability.

Further, lobbying and petitioning governing bodies to end subsidies and other financial assistance for destructive fishing vessels has the greatest impact on trawl fisheries, which otherwise cannot operate. Removing government and taxpayer money from these economic and business sectors halt the expansion of large commercial fishing operations and significantly obstruct their ability to operate—and all it takes is a signature.

Follow this link to virtually sign your name to Greenpeace’s collaborative No Supertrawler campaign and encourage the Australian Government and AFMA to set a precedent for the rest of the world, and to say: No supertrawler. Not here. Not anywhere. Original Article can be found here.

Why this issue and petition is important?!

One of the world’s biggest fishing trawlers with a history of over exploiting fish stocks, the FV Margiris, wants to trawl for small pelagic fish – some of the most critical species in our marine ecosystem. Small pelagic fishing around Tasmania already has a bad record. The surface schools of jack mackerel that were once common off southeast Tasmania have not returned after the collapse of that fishery over 20 years ago.

The fish are a vital food source for important species like the critically endangered southern bluefin tuna, marine mammals, seabirds and game fish. Trawlers like this not only catch the target species, they also get tonnes of bycatch - unwanted marine life like dolphins, seals and seabirds, that gets thrown back dead.

This fishing trawler is the opposite of the fishing activities we need to ensure healthy oceans and healthy communities – we need better valued seafood that doesn’t rely on government subsidies, sustainable employment for local fishermen, science based fisheries management, and no unwanted by-catch.

Learn more at http://stopthetrawler.net

Follow us on twitter @stopthetrawler

ABC RADIO NATIONAL PROGRAM ON SUPER-TRAWLER - here to download or read full transcript.

Tasmania’s fishers are up in arms over the arrival of a Dutch super trawler, the FV Margiris. These boats are blamed around the world for overfishing and Tasmania’s anglers are convinced the super trawler will deplete local populations of fish and in doing so drive away the prized blue-fin tuna. Australia’s fishing regulator says the quota is based on sound science, and they say they’ll be able to effectively police the catch. So who’s right? Reporter: Wendy Carlisle

Check out link to Radio National Program above for complete program transcript and audio download.

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