Auckland, 30 August 2012 - Greenpeace activists blocking the world’s second largest factory fishing trawler, the FV Margiris, from arriving in Australia this morning have revealed that two New Zealanders have a controlling interest in the ship.
The activists are 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. Super trawlers use an indiscriminate fishing method which can decimate fish stocks and kill turtles, dolphins, seals and other marine animals.
“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 and Pacific Oceans Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle from a Greenpeace inflatable alongside the Margiris.
Peter and Donna Simunovich are major shareholders of the joint venture which is operating the Margiris in South Australian waters. Peter Suminovich, who managed his family’s company Simunovich Fisheries before it was sold to Sanford, is also a director of one of the two companies in the joint venture.
“Simunovich brings shame on New Zealand by their involvement in this death-ship the Margiris. Australians are rightly outraged. We should also renounce these super trawlers and ban them from our waters,” said Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigner Steve Abel.
“Wherever these super trawlers go, they leave devastated fisheries in their wake. They have overfished European waters, collapsed fisheries in the South Pacific, and devastated fishing communities in West Africa. We simply can’t let the same thing happen in Australia,” said Pelle.
The Australian Government has the power to stop the Margiris before the plunder 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 at the Government’s failure to act.
“Australian marine life does not stand a chance against this kind of vessel – and neither do Australian fishermen,” said Greenpeace CEO David Ritter.
“Even research (2) 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 . 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
Notes to Editors:
1) The Margiris is being operated by a joint venture between Seafish Tasmania and Seafish Tasmania Pelagic, a fully owned subsidiary of Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV. Seafish Tasmania Pty Ltd company information sourced from company extract purchased from ASIC and current on 23rd of August 2012.
2) 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 Commonwealth 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