Greenpeace intercepts super trawler Margiris in southern Australia

Press release - August 30, 2012
At 8.45am CST (time in Adelaide) Greenpeace activists on an inflatable boat intercepted the world's second largest factory fishing trawler, the FV Margiris, and are blocking the monster ship's attempt to sneak into Port Lincoln in South Australia.

Greenpeace is calling on the Australian government to refuse to grant a fishing license to the FV Margiris and introduce a policy to ban all super trawlers from Australian waters.

"These ships literally vacuum up entire schools of fish. You could fly a jumbo Jet through the opening of its net with room to spare," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific oceans campaigner Nathaniel Pelle from the deck of the Margiris." Wherever these super trawlers go, they leave devastated fisheries in their wake. If we want healthy oceans and ample seafood for the future, we need fewer massive boats and more fish."

"The Margiris has contributed to the overfishing of European waters, the collapse of fisheries in the South Pacific, and the devastation of fishing communities in West Africa. Greenpeace is working with diverse groups of Australians to prevent the same thing happening in Australia."

The Gillard government has the power to stop the Margiris' plunder before it begins. Tens of thousands of Australians have already told the government to stop the super trawler, and public outrage from a broad range of communities - from environmental groups to recreational fishermen - continues to grow driven by the government's failure to act.

"Our oceans do not stand a chance against this kind of vessel -- and neither do Australian fishermen. Even research[1] cited by the owners shows that despite new technology, many animals, including fur seals, will routinely be killed in its nets. Both the Environment and Fisheries Ministers are rightly expressing serious concerns, but now, with this ship already in our waters, time is running out for them to display some common sense and refuse to grant a license to the Margiris," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter. "Allowing it to fish in Australian waters is not just against the national interest, it is simply absurd."

The Greenpeace 'No Super Trawler' petition is available at: www.greenpeace.org/australia/no-supertrawlers

For more information, contact:

Julie Macken in Port Lincoln, +61 400 925 217.

James Lorenz, in Sydney, +61 400 376 021.

Steve Smith in Amsterdam +31 643 787 359

[1] Seafish Tasmania are claiming they have trialled new seal excluders that will be fitted to the Margiris. However research Seafish are relying upon does not support their arguments. During the research observers estimated 55 seal deaths and 20 injuries for 97 trawls. That's more than one seal killed for every 2 trawls. Moreover, the study was conducted on a vessel almost a third the size of the Margiris. Research paper: Lyle, J.M., and Wilcox, S.T, Dolphin and Seal Interactions with Mid-water Trawling in the Commonweatlh Small Pelagic Fishery, Including An Assessment of Bycatch Mitigation, February 2008. Available at: http://www.imas.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/149648/R05_0996_Final-Rep.pdf