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South Australia Raises Concerns over Super-Trawler Impact

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AUSTRALIA - Serious concerns about the impacts of the super trawler, FV Geelong Star, must be addressed before it commences operating in waters near South Australia, the state government has said.

Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell said the state government had repeatedly raised its concerns with the Federal Government about the vessel’s potential impact.

“The super trawler was recently sighted near the South Australian border,” Mr Bignell said.

“I have very serious concerns about its impact on our fisheries, particularly our quota-managed sardines and our recreational game fishing industry.

“I have been raising SA's point of view for months with the Federal Government,” he said.

The FV Geelong Star has been permitted to fish in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery, which targets species including Jack Mackerel, Blue Mackerel and Redbait.

The fishery is managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and operates in Commonwealth waters beyond three nautical miles from the Australian coastline.

“South Australia has jurisdiction for managing sardines in all waters off South Australia – this means that sardines are a ‘no take species’ for all vessels off SA in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

“There is a strong likelihood of significant incidental by-catch of sardines and this could adversely affect the integrity of the quota arrangements.

“The State Government has proposed a number of measures to minimise any potential impacts on South Australian fisheries and marine mammals, including a review of the Offshore Constitutional Settlement (OSC) which deals with Commonwealth and state jurisdiction of the waters.

“Until this review is undertaken and an agreement reached, the State Government wants the super trawler to fish only in offshore waters beyond 200 meters deep to mitigate the risk.

“I am also very worried about impact on other marine life generally.

“I will continue to contact the Federal Government about the super trawler. South Australia has too much to lose,” Mr Bignell said.