Super trawler subsidies revealed

Press release - 21 August, 2012
Sydney, Wednesday 22 August 2012: Greenpeace has revealed that the company behind the super trawler Margiris is being heavily subsidised by EU taxpayers.

The revelations come amidst a heated political debate and fast growing opposition across the country to the imminent arrival of the world’s second largest super trawler.

“The Margiris - and the Dutch company that owns it - is heavily subsidised by European taxpayers. It has already used these funds to plunder fish stocks in Europe, West Africa and the Pacific and now it intends to use them to take all it can from Australian waters,” said Pavel Klinckhamers, a Greenpeace marine biologist who has tracked super trawlers around the world and has arrived in Australia to warn against the Margiris.

Greenpeace research reveals that Dutch company Parlevliet & Van der Plas, owners of the Margiris, has received direct subsidies of €39m since 1994 and in recent years (2006-2011) has also received indirect subsidies within the range of €16m and €28m. A large proportion of these subsidies are used to pay for fuel with the Margiris alone receiving up to €4.2m every year for the past 6 years.

“Without subsidies from the EU, Parlevliet & Van der Plas’ profits would be significantly reduced and it could have even lost money in recent years. Super trawlers like the Margiris are highly efficient at destroying fisheries but are not efficient at making profits without subsidies,” said Klinckhamers.

Research also reveals that without indirect and direct subsidies, aggregated profit for the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA), an industry lobby group that represents the interests of several European trawler companies including Parlevliet & Van der Plas, would have been reduced from €54.7m to at least €7m and perhaps they would have run a loss of up to €50.3m. (1)

“I’ve seen first-hand how these subsidised super trawlers have devastated fisheries and coastal communities in West Africa. After a vessel like the Margiris has been to visit there’s nothing left but empty oceans, destroyed livelihoods and ruined ecosystems.”

“I’m here to warn Australia. Giving this foreign fish factory access to its rich marine assets would be a colossal mistake,” said Klinckhamers.

Pavel Klinckhamers helped to co-ordinate the protest earlier this year, which delayed the Margiris’ departure from Holland to Australia for seven days.

Greenpeace is asking the Federal Government to ban all super trawlers in Australian waters. 

Pavel Klinckhamers is available for interview.

For more information, contact:
James Lorenz, Greenpeace Communications Manager: 0400 376 021

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(1). Profundo report:, page 27