Controversial trawler finally leaves Australian waters
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The controversial fishing trawler Geelong Star has left Australian waters and, according to the ship’s owner, will not be returning.
The vessel, which caused concern among the recreational fishing industry because of the potential damage to fish stocks, was swapped from an Australian to a Dutch flag as it headed for the Dutch port of Ijmuiden.
Its departure comes at the same time as a move urging the Federal Government to appoint a National Recreational Fishing Council.
However, the Federal Government Minister for Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said it was unclear whether the trawler would be returning. “It raises questions about whether it is simply going to get repairs or if there is something else going on,” she said.
Geelong Star’s owner, Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV, said the reason for the ship leaving was that it could not come to a financial commercial agreement with local partners in Australia. It regretted leaving Australia, ‘partly because of the very healthy pelagic fish stocks’.
The ship’s departure came just before the release of a Senate report calling on the Federal Government to ban all factory freezer trawlers from operating in Commonwealth small pelagic fishery regions.
Labour and Green Party committee members also urged the Federal Government to appoint a National Recreational Fishing Council, saying that public confidence in the management of the country’s fisheries needed to be improved.
So-called super trawlers have been prohibited from fishing in Australian waters since 2012, but the ban applies only to vessels over 130 metres. The Geelong Star is 95 metres.