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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The nation's recreational fishers are flexing their not inconsiderable muscle in Canberra, as the row over super-trawler Margiris shows.

The nations recreational fishers are flexing their not inconsiderable muscle in Canberra, as the row over the super-trawler Margiris shows.

The grizzled old grandpa sitting at the end of the jetty. The young tradie with 100 horsepower at the back of a cabin cruiser bristling with a rod armoury, his eyes on the horizon. Surely these people are into anything but politics.

Turns out that as the row over the super-trawler Margiris grows into a defining national resource battle, it’s not the green groups who are holding the whip; it’s the recreational fishers.
They were the ones courted by the federal government to find a way to let the Dutch ship fish in Australian waters. The vessel is being brought to Australia to trawl for 19,000 tonnes of small pelagic fish.

The recreational fishers' decision to quit that working group, rejecting industrial trawling instead, is clearly a blow to the venture.

Such is the strength of their lobby the question is raised, has the ground shifted? Is the Margiris fracas one of those moments when Australia turns 180 degrees and just says “NO”?
This is not the first time recreational fishers have flexed their muscles, their influence is growing and its time the hand on the rod was seen for the strength it has.

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FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke says parliament could yet send controversial super-trawler the FV Margiris packing.

He has confirmed he is opposed to the trawler and says a private member's bill from ALP backbencher Melissa Parke in coming weeks could give him the power to ban it.
At present environmental laws do not go far enough to allow the minister to stop the vessel from fishing Australian waters.

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Private Member's Bill to Stop Supertrawlers

Federal Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, today announced she will introduce a private Member's bill when Parliament next sits to protect the future of Australia's oceans and fisheries.
"I have very serious concerns about the impacts of a super-trawler like the MV Margiris on the Australian marine environment and as a result I intend to bring a private Member's bill to prevent this kind of large-scale trawling operation in Australian waters," said Ms Parke.

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