The only place for a super trawler is the scrap heap

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Feature Story - 18 November, 2012
Greenpeace welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to extend the ban on the super trawler, Abel Tasman, for 2 full years.
Super TrawlersClick on the image to see the full size infographic

We breathed a deep sigh of relief today.

Today, Environment Minister Tony Burke announced the extension of the super trawler ban for two full years.

The minister explained that two years are needed for scientists to properly understand the impact of the super trawler on our rich marine ecosystems.

He’s right. This boat, once called the Margiris and now renamed the Abel Tasman, has plundered fish stocks all around the globe. It is a symbol of the global overfishing crisis and the only place for it is on the scrap heap.

Quite simply, there too many oversized fishing boats like the Abel Tasman on the ocean. According to the UN, the global fishing fleet is 2.5 times too large for fish stocks to sustain.

 “Industrial fishing in far-flung waters may seem like the economic option, but only because fleets are able to pocket major subsidies while externalizing the costs of over-fishing and resource degradation. Future generations will pay the price when the oceans run dry,” said the UN special rapporteur for food.

That means, unless, foreign-owned, subsidized vessels are stopped, billions of people around the world that rely on fish as a source of protein are at risk of going hungry.

Today’s announcement is an important sign the Australian Government is standing by its commitment to curb global overfishing.

But there’s much more to do.

There are dozens of oversized vessels like the Abel Tasman looking for places to fish and Australia will be in their sights if anything less than a permanent ban on super trawlers is declared.