Greenpeace

MP in bid to stop super trawler

A PLAN for Dutch super trawler FV Margiris to fish 18,000 tonnes of small fish in Australia has hit another snag, after a Labor backbencher announced plans for a private member's bill to stop the trawler.

The super trawler originally was approved to fish the small pelagic fish from waters around Tasmania but hit a wall of community opposition in the island state.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie then complained to the Commonwealth Ombudsman that the Australian Fisheries Management Authority fishing quota approval was against federal law.

The Ombudsman is now investigating the approval, which was given to Seafish Tasmania.

Now Fremantle MP Melissa Parke was reported in Fairfax media as planning to launch a bill when parliament next sits to stop the trawler being allowed to fish Australian water, while the owners still wait for the vessel to be registered in Australia.

Ms Parke told Fairfax she and her constituents had "very serious concerns" about the impact the trawler could have on fish stocks.

Her announcement also marks a growing disquiet among Labor ranks, after five backbenchers raised their concerns about the AFMA quota approval during a confidential caucus meeting in Canberra two weeks ago.

It is understood Environment Minister Tony Burke is awaiting departmental advice on whether he can intervene in the case or not.


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