From Europe to Africa, Greenpeace is campaigning for super trawlers like the Margiris to be removed from the seas. Our campaign has reached Australia now that one of the world’s largest and most notorious super trawlers, the Margiris, is heading for our shores.
Here are ten reasons why we must stop the Margiris and all super trawlers coming to Australia before they destroy our marine environment and our coastal communities.
- The Margiris is more than twice the size of any boat to have fished Australian waters.
Super trawlers can be up to 144 metres long, and use trawl nets up to 600 metres long. The average Australian commercial fishing boat is around 25 metres long.
- Super trawlers can catch the equivalent weight of 20 buses in fish per day.
The Margiris can process up to 250 tonnes of fish per day and can store over 6000 tonnes (545 buses) of frozen fish – that means they can fish for months on end without coming into port.
- Super trawlers kill turtles, dolphins, seals and other marine animals.
This indiscriminate fishing method has a high level of bycatch, that is, unwanted marine life. In the past 15 years, bycatch from 20 super trawlers fishing off West Africa has killed an estimated 1,500 critically endangered turtles, more than 18,000 giant rays, and more than 60,000 sharks.
- Super trawlers destroy jobs.
These vessels use sophisticated technology and few crew members, while taking the majority of the fish. In Europe, small-scale local fishermen have only been allocated 20% of the fishing opportunities despite the fact that they represent 80% of all fishermen in Europe.
- Super trawlers have a criminal track record
The Margiris and other super trawlers were ordered out of Western Sahara waters after it was found they were breaching international law in 2011.
- Super trawlers collapsed the South Pacific fishery.
Scientists said there were so many jack mackerel in the South Pacific that the fishery was impossible to overfish. Super trawlers, including the Margiris, fished so much that in 2006 the fishery collapsed to 10% of healthy stocks. Fisheries managers are calling for fishing to be cut by half with some scientists arguing for a five year total ban.
- Super trawlers wiped out West Africa’s commercial fish stocks
Since super trawlers, including the Margiris, started fishing off the West Coast of Africa, most commercial fish stocks have become ‘fully exploited’ or ‘over-exploited’. i.e. There are no more fish.
- Senegal banned all foreign trawlers from its waters
This was a result of 52,000 local fishermen threatening to take direct action against the owners of foreign trawlers, due to the damage super trawlers have caused to their fish stocks. The Senegalese president then closed the fishery entirely for six months to aid recovery.
- If the little fish go, so do the big fish..
The Margiris will target Redbait, blue mackerel and red mackerel, which are important species in the food chain. They are food for animals including the bottlenose dolphin, fur seals and larger fish such as southern bluefin tuna and sharks.
- Super trawlers have already harmed Tasmania’s fish
Large surface schools of the fish to be targeted by the Margiris - jack mackerel - were once common off Tasmania until they were overfished by trawlers more than 20 years ago. These surface schools soon disappeared and have not been seen since. The Margiris are now targeting the deeper schools of jack mackerel.
We’re calling on the Australian Government to ban the Margiris and all super trawlers fishing in Australian waters. Please join us and sign the petition now.
No super trawlers. Not here. Not anywhere.