Stop the Super Trawler

Greenpeace actionFishers For Conservation does not support the allowing of large factory trawlers to fish Australian waters.

As supporters of ecologically based management of fisheries we find it unacceptable that this super trawler be allowed to fish Australian waters. The risks of ecological disaster and damage to both local professional and recreational fishing are too great. These type of vessels are known to have been greatly responsible for the overfishing in the North Sea and South Pacific.

stop st alliance16/02/2015 : When is a supertrawler ban not a supertrawler ban? A: When it fails to ban supertrawlers. - Late last year the Federal Government banned so-called super trawlers, which it defined as ships longer than 130 metres. However it has now announced that the same company will now be approved to operate in the same fishery, but with a 95m vessel. The same concerns around localised depletions of fish and impacts on ecosystems and other fisheries including recreational fishing remain.

Read more: ABC, Fishing World

"Senator Colbeck said the Geelong Star's quota has been set at 16,566 tonnes for jack mackerel, redbait and blue mackerel for the 2014-15 fishing season. But Nobby Clark from Game Fish Tasmania said he was nervous about the latest proposal. "The questions that have been asked by our peak bodies have still not been answered around the series of effects of localised depletion and what these effects could possibly have on an ever-growing game fishing industry on the east coast of Australia," he said. Mr Clark said he was anticipating a fresh wave of protests. "It was never about the length of the vessel, it was about the efficiency of freezer vessels being able to take large quantities of fish out of localised areas," he said.

24/12/2014 Huge news - Super Trawler ban to become permanent !! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE :-)

"THE Federal Government has announced it will ban super trawlers from Australian waters. Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the Government will introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to ban super trawlers." The Mercury dec 24 2014

"Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck said the Federal Government would introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to ban factory freezer vessels more than 130 metres in length.A temporary ban on super trawlers was introduced in late 2012 to block the controversial FV Margiris, the world's second-largest trawler at the time. That ban was set to expire in April 2015." ABC Dec 24 2014


trawler thumb19/09/2013 - Magris enters pt lincolnOpposition to supertrawler remains despite plans for new fish stock surveys ALICE CLARIDGE MERCURY SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 3:45PM - "The question for the Australian Government is do they want to continue on path to world best management that benefits regions locally and environmentally or do they want to go down the track of industrial scale fishing?"

trawler thumb24/08/2013 - Reproduced from an email sent by the stop the supertrawler campaign:

We cannot risk getting a Super Trawler back, but it could happen any day now!

Federal Court judges will soon decide whether the temporary Super Trawler ban will stay in place. If they overturn the two year ban, we could have a Super Trawler steaming back to Australia in days, straight from the overexploited Pacific Mackerel fishery off Chile.

Each one of us was integral to the campaign that protected our fisheries and marine life from Super Trawlers last year, and we can’t allow that enormous effort go to waste. 

If you have emailed your candidate, now multiply your impact by sharing these memes on Facebook. No one wants Super Trawlers in Australia, so let everyone be part of the action by asking friends to send a message as well.

Let’s remind all political parties and candidates that Super Trawlers are not part of Australia’s sustainable fishing future. We want a strong commitment to safeguard our fisheries and marine life so we can all continue to enjoy its benefits into the future. Please ask your federal candidates to represent our views and ban Super Trawlers for good.

PS - Last year we got a two year ban on Super Trawlers by showing politicians we care. Please let them know it wasn’t a passing fad. Email them now and ask 5 friends to do it too.

PPS – You can download the super trawler memes here and share them with your friends online so that they can support a permanent Super Trawler ban too.


trawler thumb4/03/2013 - More good news - "The super trawler Abel Tasman is to leave Australian waters without catching a fish. After a massive community and political campaign against the ship, its Tasmanian operators have confirmed it has been sold, its Australian registration abandoned and the vessel is to depart within days." Super trawler leaving Australia, the

Of course, this story is far from over "Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen says the Government left it with no choice but to look at other options.....He says the company still wants to fish its quota of jack mackerel and red bait using a large-scale freezer trawler. "Whether it's the Abel Tasman or smaller vessel, it will be that type of boat," Mr Geen said. Seafish Tasmania is challenging the Federal Government's trawling ban in court and says it is considering further legal action after the latest ban. ABC News . See also coverage in The Examiner


trawler thumb13/02/2013 - Good news! Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced he will knock back Seafish Tasmania's latest application to use its super trawler as a floating freezer. Well done to all involved.

Read abc coverage of the decision here.

Also the expert panel that has two years to reccomend on the Supertrawler has been announced and there are some good scientists on the panel. Optimistic times for fisheries management in Australia?


trawler thumb26/01/2013 - It's not over yet.. There is a push on to now use the Super Trawler as a mothership to help take unprecedented numbers of small pelagic fish from the food chain in Australian waters. Take action before Monday.

Via the Stop the Supertrawler website:



Seafish Tasmania has applied for the super trawler Abel Tasman (formerly Margiris) to operate as a ‘mothership’ in Australian waters while smaller trawlers catch the mackerel and redbait and then transfer it to her for processing.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority is considering this proposal despite a two year ban of the super trawler in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

Clearly, we need to say it again – super trawlers are not wanted in Australian waters!


Include your name, postal address, email address and a message opposing transhipment and the use of super trawlers in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery.

If you would like more information about the transhipment application or to make a submission from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority website, you can do so here.

You may want to use some of the points below in your submission.

  • With more boats in the water trawling and loading onto the super trawler, this proposal could place the small pelagic fish under even more threat
  • This proposal still places critically endangered bluefin tuna under greater threat from loss of their food source, and it still threatens the death of seals, dolphins and seabirds through bycatch
  • The transhipment proposal involves transferring fish from smaller vessels to a ‘mothership’ for processing – this act constitutes ‘fishing’ under the fisheries management legislation and is therefore banned for two years
  • There is still no strategy that adequately deals with the potential for localised depletion or widespread stock depletion that this intensive fishing activity could result in
  • Stock assessments are based on increasingly old data and there is no requirement for updating this data to ensure quotas are precautionary and will not result in localised overfishing
  • The expert panel which is meant to review the impacts of a super trawler in the Small Pelagic Fishery has not even been formed, let alone begun it’s work, so this proposal would be pre-empting this official review

Email by Monday 28 January 2013

You can read the environment groups joint submission here.



trawler thumb14/09/2012 - Super Trawler stopped by Government - We Won!... for now.

Thank you for signing the petition and reading more about the issue below and on People power can work. Fishers For Conservation has been proud to be part of the Stop The Trawler campaign and congratulates all involved on the outcome.

Lets hope that this opens the debate regarding the sustainability of our modern fishing practices and leads to improved outcomes in other areas of Australian fisheries management and environmental protection.  We look with hope toward the review to update the fisheries management legislation announced by Minister Joe Ludwig alongside the legislative amendment.

Super trawler banned from fishing in Australian waters by Federal Government - Adelaide now

"A CONTROVERSIAL super trawler will be banned from fishing in Australian waters for at least two years after federal government legislation passed the lower house.

The bill will prevent the 142m Abel Tasmania, formerly known as the Margiris, from fishing for its 18,000 tonne quota in seas stretching from southern Queensland to Western Australia."

Super trawler plans torpedoed by cabinet - Sydney Morning Herald

"Federal environmental protection laws will be changed to prevent a super trawler fishing in Australian waters."

Serious questions have been raised about the Australian Fisheries Management Authorities handling of the process and the science used (and abused?) to set quotas.

Ludwig rejected whistleblower warnings on trawler approval - "Jon Bryan, the conservation member of the committee, and Graham Pike, the recreational fishing representative, raised concerns about the science behind that decision, and also allegations of conflict of interest because Gerry Geen, the director of the trawler operator Seafish Tasmania also sat on the approval committee."

Burke raises questions over fishing regulator assessment - ABC news " The Government says the fishing regulator has conceded errors in implementing its own legislation, amid debate over moves to ban a super trawler from fishing in Australian waters."

Super trawler not the only fishing problem needing review - The Conversation - Tony Burke and Joe Ludwig have just announced a review of the Fisheries Management Act and the EPBC Act, thanks to public opposition to the super trawler. But the Commonwealth should take a good hard look at its other trawl fisheries to see if they need tougher regulation.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish: science doesn’t support the super trawler - The Conversation - Jessica Meeuwig Research Professor, UWA Oceans Institute at University of Western Australia debunks the science behind the super trawler quota.


We call on the Australian Government to reject the fishing trawler, FV Margiris, and its plan to plunder our ecologically important small pelagic fishery. Why is this 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. graphc

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.

Please sign the petition now


Archived Stop the Trawler News

trawler thumb6/09/12 -Dear friends,

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has responded to community concerns about the super trawler saying he is powerless to stop it, instead introducing a series of conditions to minimise the impact of the trawler on listed threatened species. Whilst it's good to see Minister Burke using his powers to act, the conditions put in place will not stop this super trawler (or others) destroying our marine life and fisheries.

Here's why: The conditions do nothing to address the concerns of conservationists and recreational or commercial fishers about local over exploitation of fish stocks Most of the conditions are standard for all trawlers - such as management plans for sea birds - but this does not stop protected bird species being caught in the first place The conditions allow up to 10 seals to be killed every day, if more are killed the a simple 'review' is triggered and the trawler is required to move 50 nautical miles. Trawlers can cover these distances in a few hours and given marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins and turtles are highly mobile this does nothing to protect them. The conditions do not address the flow on effect of localised depletion of fish stocks on the marine environment or the flow on effects to other marine wildlife who may lose their food source such as penguins, tuna, seals, whales and dolphins.

powers under section 91 of the Fisheries Management Act, which allow him to take action in 'exceptional circumstances' like this to ban super trawlers from our waters. Tell Joe Ludwig it's time to protect Australia's fisheries and marine life from super trawlers - email him here: The Margiris arrived in Port Lincoln in remote South Australia six days ago, and is undergoing a makeover (including an insulting name-change to the 'Abel Tasman') to try and secure final approval to fish in Australian waters. Minister Joe Ludwig is the one person with the power to stop the trawler and has yet to make a decision. He has the power, in exceptional circumstances, to direct the Australian Fisheries Management Authority what to do - but he won't use that power unless he continues to hear from all of us.

Thanks to the generous contributions of 643 people, we can continue the campaign to stop the super trawler and ramp up the pressure on the Fisheries Minister. We are organising a huge 'No Super Trawlers' rally in Hobart on Saturday 15 September. We've chosen Hobart despite Seafish Tasmania changing the docking location of the super trawler a number of times (most recently to Queensland) - it is clear they want to avoid public events near the Margiris. This campaign is a national movement now, but began in Tasmania with a Tasmanian company at the centre of the debate.

Stay tuned to for more details on the event. It has been a busy time since the trawler arrived in Australian waters. Late last week Greenpeace activists attempted to stop the super trawler from docking in Port Lincoln, South Australia. It is clear that the company avoided original ports in Tasmania and Western Australia after hearing about significant public opposition there! Since that time, South Australian fishers and conservationists have been coming together to show their opposition with events being held throughout this week. This culminated yesterday in Parliament with the SA Environment Minister tabling a statement that calls on the Federal Minister for Fisheries Joe Ludwig to not allow the FV Margiris to operate in the Small Pelagic Fishery at all. You may have seen that on Monday GetUp, Greenpeace and Environment Tasmania ran a full page ad in The Australian that highlighted the threat of the super trawler to protected species like dolphins, seals and seabirds and urged readers to contact the Fisheries Minister. Let's keep the momentum up - contact Joe Ludwig here.

trawler thumb5/09/2012 - SOUTH AUSTRALIA OPPOSES SUPERTRAWLERS - Last Thursday the super trawler FV Margiris entered South Australian waters and docked in Port Lincoln meeting protest from the community and activists. Local fishers rallied at parliment house and the SA State Government has come out strongly against the Trawler with a statement in Parliament and letter to the Federal Fisheries minister opposing the trawler. Meanwhile Tony Burke has put a range of conditions on the Trawler but has fallen short of stopping it saying that was outside his power.

In SA There will be another, larger, rally at the steps of parliament house 11am Saturday 8th, organised by local fishos. Facebook event here.

trawler thumb21/08/2012 - Ombudsman to review super trawler quota - The Commonwealth Ombudsman has launched a formal investigation into the fishing quota that has been set for the super trawler Margiris. - "There can be no doubt that AFMA failed to do its job properly, that the quota for the super trawler is completely discredited and, frankly, that the boat may as well turn around and go back to Europe," [Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie ] said.



trawler thumb20/08/2012 - Fishers quit over quotas for trawler - Sydney Morning Herald - "A Federal government attempt to calm Australia's influential recreational fishers over the super trawler Margiris is in disarray...Mr Nikolai said detailed discussions in the working group showed basic knowledge of the fishery was lacking.
''Recreational fishers call on [the Fisheries Minister, Joe] Ludwig to not allow industrial-scale fishing operations to occur in the small pelagic fishery and address the significant public concerns surrounding the risks of local area depletion on fish stocks,'' he said."


ststumb17/08/2012 - On Wednesday, representatives of the Stop the Trawler alliance delivered our petition signed by over 35,000 people to the Minister of Fisheries Joe Ludwig - in a large net with each name printed on paper mackerel fish. super trawler delivery image The campaign continues to gain momentum - our coalition of groups, National Day of Action and now the delivery of our massive petition to the Fisheries Minister has meant this issue is truly on the national agenda. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie asked the PM about the super trawler in question time yesterday, and the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, has also indicated he is looking in more depth at the super trawler proposal. If the trawler gets the green light from the Australian Government the responsibility to manage the operation will fall with the Environment Department. Our campaign seems to be working - politicians from Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia are asking questions and opposing the super trawler! However recent news that the super trawler will be dropping off a load of fish caught in international waters to Perth en route to Tasmania is concerning. That's why we'll continue this campaign to stop the super trawler until the Government makes its final decision, which we think may be very soon. We say no to the super trawler, and yes to healthy oceans, to sustainable employment for local fishermen, science based fisheries management, and no unwanted by-catch. More info:


trawler thumb14/08/2012 - super trawler NDA - Thank you to the hundreds of people across Australia that joined the National Day of Action against the Super Trawler on Saturday. From Perth to Adelaide, Sydney to Hobart, the message was clear - we are opposed to allowing the Super Trawler FV Margiris to devastate our fragile marine ecosystem and local fishing industry. Have a look at the images from Saturday here. In Hobart around 400 boats gathered in the harbour to join 200 people on land - one of the largest flotillas seen in Tasmania. In Melbourne eighty people were joined on St Kilda beach by Member for Wills Kelvin Thompson. In Western Australia, people from all walks of life attended three actions organised in Perth, Fremantle and Albany. A crowd gathered at Port Adelaide Lighthouse and in Launceston, the impacts of the super trawler on non-target species such as dolphins and seals was highlighted in a st reet theatre performance by local “Stop the Trawler Action Group”. And in between all this, people sent in their personal messages to stop the super trawler. Thank you so much! The National Day of Action received media across the country and provided us an amazing collage of images, which will be presented to Federal MPs and Senators in Canberra this week. Tomorrow, we will deliver the 35,000 signature strong petition to Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig in Canberra. Each individual name on the petition will be represented by a paper fish held by a huge net, sending a powerful message: Stop the Super Trawler!

trawler thumb12/08/12 Burke warns of super trawler overfishing risk ABC News By Emily Woodgate, Wendy Carlisle and staff

"Professor Daniel Pauly from the Fisheries Research Centre at the University of British Columbia says it may be difficult for AFMA to police the trawler to ensure it remains within its quota. He says the recent experience of a chartered Korean super trawler in a joint venture with a local New Zealand operator should serve as a warning to Australian regulators.

"The New Zealand experience is very telling in this regard," he told Background Briefing.

"New Zealand authorities thought they were very strict. And they ended up having a fleet of vessels chartered from Korea who busted the quota."


trawler thumb03/08/2012 - Legal query raised over super trawler-August 3, 2012 – 2:05PM, Andrew Darby, The Age

“AFMA has as good as admitted the fishing quota for the MV Margiris is not worth the paper it’s written on,” Mr Wilkie said. “So the quota needs to be ripped up and the whole assessment process started again.

“AFMA has claimed strong scientific backing for its approach, but aquatic policy specialist Jon Nevill said the organisation’s processes were fundamentally wrong. Instead of taking the approach of considering the effect of fishing on the whole ecosystem, AFMA adopted a “single stock” concept, Dr Nevill said.”

Green groups join forces against super trawler- ABC News, Posted August 01, 2012

“The company bringing a super trawler to Australian waters this month is now facing opposition from a coalition of environment groups. Fourteen state and national environment groups have banded together to stop Seafish Tasmania bringing the super trawler FV Margiris to fish Commonwealth waters.”

Trawler fears in law loophole – David Killick, The Mecury August 02, 2012

“Commonwealth environment laws ban deepwater trawling in the Huon and Tasman Fracture Marine Reserves. But because the reserves are designated “multiple use zones” mid-water trawling is allowed.”

Tuna Club of Tasmania president Neil “Nobby” Clark worries that if the Margiris is allowed to fish off the continental shelf, or anywhere in Tasmanian waters, it could spell ecological disaster.” – “Local fishermen yesterday turned their voices against the 140m trawler being granted approval to fish out of Devonport from August. “  Tuna club joins trawler fight – Blair Richards, The Mercury, July 01, 2012

trawler thumb23/07/2012 - Hundreds attend super trawler rally - ABC News

Hundreds of recreational fishers and boaters are protesting across Tasmania in a display of unity against the imminent arrival of the super trawler FV Margiris.

Concerns super trawler will catch dolphins and seals - ABC PM Radio (transcript)

There are fears in Tasmania that the fishing operation of a super trawler headed to Australia might kill dolphins and seals. The company Seafish Tasmania wants to use the super trawler to take 18,000 tonnes of fish a year. But environmental groups are concerned that the super trawler will also take dolphins and seals as by-catch.

Super trawler, is it good or bad for Tasmania? Posted July ABC news

Will it devastate a fishery, or will the FV Margiris's catch be a drop in the ocean? We present the facts for viewers to decide.

trawler thumb17/07/2012 - Will the super trawler Margiris destroy our fisheries? ABC

It's the largest fishing vessel that would ever work in Australian fisheries, said to have been part of destroying West African fisheries, and feared to be coming to Australia to destroy our fisheries. Recreational fishing groups and environmental groups that are usually at odds over Australia's new marine parks are allied in opposition to the super trawler. Meanwhile, the government and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority say that the fisheries will be rigorously protected. Read More

trawler thumb11/07/2012 - Supertrawler wants to call Australia home - Sydney Morning Herald

The Dutch-owned supertrawler Margiris has applied for Australian registration, bringing its controversial fishing venture a step closer. The vessel now steams under the flag of Lithuania. Its application was confirmed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority today.

"This application will be assessed in accordance with the Shipping Registration Act and the vessel's managers will be advised in due course," an AMSA spokeswoman said.

The 9600-tonne Margiris, owned by global fishers Parlevliet & Van der Plas, is the largest ship ever to fish in Australian waters. It is to trawl offshore from New South Wales, around Tasmania and Victoria to Western Australia. Advertisement It will be flagged to Australia to be eligible to fish for a quota of about 18,000 tonnes of mackerel and redbait, to be block frozen whole on board and exported, Parlevliet's joint venture partner Seafish Tasmania said. The 142-metre trawling giant has a 200-metre long net with an opening measuring 75 by 35 metres. It has a freezing capacity of 200 tonnes a day. Australian fishers have long sought to exploit the country's so-called "small pelagics", which are prey for bigger fish such as tuna and marlin. Read more

trawler thumb28/06/2012 - Mounting opposition to super trawler visit - Fishingworld

The Prime Minister says approval had not been given for the ship to enter Australia. "Unless the regulator can be absolutely certain that that vessel will operate in a genuinely sensible and sustainable way, it should not be allowed into Australian waters," Wilkie told ABC radio. "It is not in our national interest. I don't think it's in the interest of Australia's very important fishing industry."


What else can I do?

These suggestions from Environment Tasmainia :

1. Send the petition as far and wide as possible ( - use Facebook, Twitter and email

2. Contact Sid Sidebottom MHR, Member for Braddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, or 1300 135 547 and tell him of your concerns

3. Contact Environment Minister Tony Burke ( and Prime Minister Julia Gillard ( directly as well

4. Write letters to the editor: The Mercury (, The Examiner (, The Advocate (