The Margiris is due to arrive in Devonport, Tasmania, this month.
The Margiris is due to arrive in Devonport, Tasmania, this month. Greenpeace

Ombudsman looks into fishing quotas

THE pressure is building on the Federal Government to overturn approvals for a super trawler to chase 38,000 tonnes of fish off the coast of Tasmania, as the Commonwealth Ombudsman looks into fishing quotas approved by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

While the quota approval does not yet affect Queensland or New South Wales fish supplies, the approval could pave the way for similar approvals in other regions around the country.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, on Tuesday, joined the Greens in calls for the Ombudsman to investigate the proposal for the Dutch trawler Margiris to fish Australian waters.

While he said the Ombudsman had launched an investigation, the Ombudsman said it had started formal investigations yet, but that it had been looking into a complaint about the quota approval from Mr Wilkie.

In late July and early August, Mr Wilkie twice wrote to the Ombudsman with his concerns about the legality of the process that determined the quota for the super trawler.

Commonwealth Acting Ombudsman Alison Larkins released a statement yesterday saying: "A decision to investigate a complaint is not an indication that an agency has acted inappropriately".

It is understood a working group has been formed by Agriculture Department officials which will also look into the quota approval and its potential impact on the sustainability of fish supplies in Australian waters.


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