The Greens are taking federal parliamentary action against a Dutch-owned super-trawler protesters fear will deplete fishing stocks.


Seafish Tasmania intends operating the 142-metre FV Margiris from the end of this month to catch 18,000 tonnes of redbait and jack mackerel off Australia’s east and west coasts.

Protesters, who are gathering in Canberra on Wednesday, are concerned the catch will hurt local fisheries and snare dolphins and seals.

“This is twice the size of any other fishing vessel that operates in Australian waters, and it will change the face of fishing here forever,” Environment Tasmania marine co-ordinator Rebecca Hubbard said.

A petition signed by 35,000 people was delivered by Ms Hubbard, independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie, Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson and others to Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig on Wednesday.

Senator Whish-Wilson plans to move a motion later in the day challenging the 18,000 tonne quota. “We know that it is not going to be economic for the super-trawler to come without a large quota,” he told AAP.

The motion will call for an examination of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFA) process to determine allowable catch limits.

Mr Wilkie claims the 18,000 tonne quota is unlawful because it doesn’t comply with the Fisheries Administration Act and has complained to the Commonwealth Ombudsman about AFMA’s process.

“If this quota is found to be illegal there’s no basis for the ship being here so the Margiris may as well turn around and go back to where it came from,” he said.

The ombudsman has asked AFMA for more information and will decide later if an investigation is warranted.