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Gillard Government Acts on Super Trawler

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sid Sidebottom, Member for Braddon, and Senator Anne Urquhart today welcomed the news today that the Federal Government will introduce legislation to toughen up environmental controls on vessels like the super trawler.

Mr Sidebottom said that the government was introducing urgent legislation into the Australian Parliament to prevent vessels, like the FV Abel Tasman, from fishing until further expert assessments were undertaken.

“I have publically recognised that the community has had legitimate concerns about the potential operation of the vessel, particularly around its local impacts. That is why I organised and convened a forum of environmental and recreational fishing representatives to air these concerns directly with Seafish Tasmania,” Mr Sidebottom said.

“Along with my Tasmanian Labor colleagues, I have taken these concerns to the responsible Ministers,”

“As discussed by Minister Burke, this vessel is unlike any that has previously been considered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and it is appropriate for the government to review the conditions applied to this boat to ensure that they are world’s best practice.

“I am a strong supporter of our commercial fishers and recreational fishers the contribution they make to our community. These changes will ensure continued confidence in the supplementary environmental protections that work with the strict fisheries controls.

“Our world leading fisheries management system was established under the Hawke Government in 1991 and is a proud Labor legacy. However, times change and after twenty years it’s due for a refresh.

“I am a strong defender of Australian fisheries and their management and while our fisheries regulator is world leading, it is important that the community has confidence in the environmental controls which regulate it.”

Senator Urquhart said that the Government has also announced the first comprehensive review of the fisheries management system to ensure it is in line with community expectations, socio-economic concerns and environmental measures.

“I’ve been saying throughout this whole debate that we need to remove the emotion and concentrate on the facts. We need to be certain about the system and after  twenty years, we need a fresh look,” said Senator Urquhart.

“This will give our system and our fishers and the confidence they need to continue to be some of the most productive, profitable and sustainable in the world.

“It will also lead to increased community confidence in Australia’s world leading fisheries management system.

“Sid and I are pleased that the government has taken this precautionary action and we will be supporting the legislation.”

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