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Australians launch lobby party to fight factory trawlers

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Kevin Harkins (left) introduces Fishers Party candidates, Glen Saltmarsh, Mark Tapsell, Shelley Shay and Carmen Evans.

A new political party, formed to lobby against the use of large trawlers in Australian waters, officially launched its election campaign on Sunday.

The Australian Recreational Fishers Party has been set up in Tasmania and will address recreational fishing’s concerns over factory fishing trawlers.

It will run candidates in Braddon, Bass and Lyons and a team in the Senate headed by party secretary Kevin Harkins, who described the impact on the recreational fishing industry by so-called super trawlers as ‘drastic’.

“The industry is worth $100 million a year to Tasmania, so why would you even entertain having these vessels working in Australian waters? It beggars belief,” he said at the launch in Launceston.

The party has recently highlighted the activities of the Geelong Star trawler, which is permitted to take 16,500 tonnes of pelagic fish in certain zones.

It also says party policies will go further than opposing the activities of the trawlers and will include the ending of alleged government corruption and political perks.

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