Pic: Greenpeace

This letter from Mr Geen of Seafish Tasmania to AFMA on the 20th May 2008 is the key to the removal of Zones A, B, C and D and their replacement with two Zones designated East and West, divided by Tasmania and the resulting transfer of Permits.

These documents relate to the Permits to fish and must be considered separately from the Quota’s of fish to be taken and their legitimacy.

From this letter it is possible to see Geen’s claims that he has provided the evidence to establish the Quotas but only in Zone A at a cost to Seafish Tasmania of $350,000. It is from this information in Zone A that the Quotas appear to have been set. So much for independence.

These Quotas have then been transferred with the Permits to Zone East and Zone West which is totally illogical and cannot be justified for there is absolutely no science involved.

So here we can see the big players of the fishing world in operation (Gunns springs to mind).

Permits, resource allocations, catch statistics, division of the spoils, access to the pollies….

And the final result is the reconstruction of the fishery which seems to suit one operator, Seafish Tasmania owned by Mr Gerry Geen and the sale of the ensuing permits to the Dutch owned, EU subsidised, Margiris Trawler, all to no advantage to Tasmania or for that matter Australia.


Download, read for yourself:


• Jon Sumby: The Margiris will kill vulnerable Australian fur seals

The Australian fur seal is a vulnerable species and is protected under Commonwealth Law, with commercial and recreational fishing as the main threatening process. Their main food is jack mackerel and redbait, which they hunt at sea, the same waters where the Margiris will hunt. Research has found that there is a high level of interaction with midwater trawls [1], with seals entering the net in more than 50% of trawl operations; highlighting the need for well-designed and tested seal exclusion devices. AFMA is in the process of developing seal excluder devices [2], but only has ‘promising preliminary results’. The net device being developed closes the net when seals are detected. This device is being developed for the current type of trawler operating off Tasmania.

The Margiris has much, much larger nets - making it more likely to catch and kill fur seals; making it harder for the seals to escape by themselves; and finally, more importantly, there is:

1. No indication that the current seal excluder device that is under preliminary testing and development is, in fact, capable of working on the Margiris’ much bigger nets.
2. There is no indication that any operating permit for the Margiris includes the requirement for operating, effective, seal exclusion devices to prevent the drowning of Australian fur seals.

This needs to be resolved and the Margiris should not:

1. Be permitted to fish in local or Commonwealth waters until it has been assessed under the EPBC Act and the relevant fisheries sections of that Act.
2. Be permitted to fish in local or Commonealth waters until it is fitted with ‘well-designed and tested seal exclusion devices’.

It is not acceptable that the supertrawler should be allowed to kill a protected and iconic seal without restriction, particularly when the Australian fur seal is part of our common heritage and part of the Australian marine ecosystem. All the seal is doing is living a life as part of the environment and having it killed and dumped for no purpose, other than taking fish to sell for profit in another country, is immoral.

Lyle, J. M. and Willcox, S. T. (2008). Dolphin and seal interactions with mid-water trawling in the Small Pelagic Fishery, including an assessment of bycatch mitigation strategies. 49 pp (Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart)


• Download Discussion paper -  The Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: General background to the scientific issues:


First published: 2012-08-21 02:31 PM

• Peter Whish-Wilson: Greens take action today in Australian Senate to halt super trawler

The Australian Greens are taking action today in the Australian Senate after Labor and the Coalition refused to support a motion last week against the controversial super trawler.

Today’s motion would disallow the fishing quota granted by the government that enables the unprecedented introduction of the factory ship to the Small Pelagic Fishery, effectively halting the FV Margiris.

“The introduction of this factory trawler, which has an appetite of over 90,000 tons of fish per year, poses unaddressed risks to Tasmanian and Australian fisheries and the people whose livelihoods depend on them so we have to take what action we can to halt it,” Australian Greens spokesperson on Tasmanian marine issues, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said today.

“Stakeholders across Australia have demanded legislated, transparent safeguards we can all see and trust to protect our fisheries and ecosystems now and into the future,” he continued.

“I’m calling on both Labor and Coalition Senators to support the Greens motion when it comes to a vote.” he concluded.

The disallowance motion will be moved today in the Senate, with the vote likely to occur after 5pm.

Text of today’s disallowance motion:

Notice given 16 August 2012

2 Senator Whish-Wilson: To move—That the Small Pelagic Fishery Total Allowable Catch (Quota Species) Determination 2012, made under subsection 17(6)(aa) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and under section 17 of the Small Pelagic Fishery Management Plan 2009, be disallowed. [F2012L00882]

Thirteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.

Can be found in today’s Notice paper here:;fileType=application%2Fpdf

If passed it would void this Legislative Instrument:

Pic: Greenpeace

• Greenpeace: Super trawler subsidies revealed

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. 


(1). Profundo report:, page 27

Jessa Latona
Communications Officer
Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Liberal & Labor: Take the Fight to the Feds

Kim Booth MP
Greens Primary Industries Spokesperson
Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today secured tripartite support for their motion in the House of Assembly opposing the operation of the super trawler FV Margiris in Tasmanian waters.


Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the final motion passed would require the Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly to write to the Federal Minister for Fisheries, Joe Ludwig, expressing opposition to the trawler.

“This is a great show of unity by the Tasmanian Parliament, with all three parties now finally agreeing to stand in opposition to this super trawler coming into our waters and targeting the small pelagic fishery,” Mr Booth said.

“It’s now clearly on the record that the Tasmanian House of Assembly will not support the Margiris operating in our waters unless it can be satisfied that the vessel will not adversely impact on the recreational fishery.”

“This successful motion will now require the Speaker of the House to write to Federal Minister Joe Ludwig and inform him that the Tasmanian House of Assembly does not support the FV Margiris operating in our fishery.”

“It’s now up to the state Labor and Liberal parties to take this fight up to their counterparts in Canberra, because that’s ultimately where the decision over the super trawler will be made.”

“While it’s good to finally have State Labor and Liberal on board, if they had been prepared to support our initial calls to prevent this super trawler being given access to our waters, then the local communities could have been saved alot of uncertainty about whether they have support of their state Labor and Liberal representatives.”

“This motion will send a strong message to the Federal Parliament, where the Australian Greens are today debating a motion by the Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson to disallow the recent quota increase for the Small Pelagic Fishery.”

“The Federal Fisheries Minister has failed to demonstrate that this ship’s activities will be sustainable and will not cause localised depletion off Tasmania, and he must now heed the calls of the Tasmanian House of Assembly and ensure that the Margiris is not granted an operation licence.”

Mr Booth said the Greens had agreed to support a minor Labor Party amendment to secure passage of the motion, which the Liberal Party also supported.  The final amended motion was supported by all three parties unanimously.

The final amended motion passed reads as follows:

That this House

1.  Notes that:

a)  The growing community concern and disquiet over the potential arrival of the super trawler, FV Margiris, to operate in Australian waters to fish the small pelagic fishery;

b)  The questions raised regarding the potential impact of the increased quota of 18, 000 tonnes per annum on local fisheries;

c)    This is a matter for Federal authorities who are responsible for access to ports, fishing in Commonwealth waters and the setting of quota in those waters;

d)  That the Tasmanian local recreational and commercial fishing communities remain strongly opposed to the FV Margiris operation and have held large protest rallies around the state to stress their concerns;

e)  Both the Tasmanian Greens and the Tasmanian Liberal parties have publicly voiced their respective opposition to this proposed super trawler, with the shared concern that the Federal Labor Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, has failed to demonstrate that this commercial fishery activity will be sustainable and will not cause localised depletion off Tasmania;

2.  Requests the Speaker to write to Senator Ludwig, to advice him that the House will not support the FV Margiris operation in Australian waters and waters around Tasmania until the Parliament can be satisfied that the vessel and proposed harvest strategy will not adversely impact on the recreational fishery.

3.  The House recognises the need for a balanced approach between the needs of a sustainable commercial fishing industry, access for recreational fishers and appropriate marine conservation outcomes.


• Jon Bryan, Tasmanian Conservation Trust, Rebecca Hubbbard, Marine Coordinator, Environment Tasmania: Scientific Report Does Not Reassure About Local Depletion From Super Trawler

Wednesday 22 August
Whilst the Stop the Trawler Alliance welcomes The Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: General background to the scientific issues report released yesterday, the report fails to resolve the outstanding threats that the super trawler Margiris poses to localized depletion.

“The report delivers scientific data that is already in the public domain and which environment and recreational fishing groups have based much of their current opposition to the super trawler Margiris on. It does not provide extra data on the movement of these important small pelagic fish and how they will avoid the threat of localized depletion,” said Rebecca Hubbard, Marine Coordinator, Environment Tasmania.

“The report acknowledges that localized depletion is an issue and says that “fishing should be spread out so as to avoid localised depletions”. However there is still no agreed definition in the Small Pelagic Fishery Harvest Strategy, no monitoring program that would identify the occurrence of localised depletion, and no management process that would help avoid this problem from developing, apart from the coarse-level division of target species into east and west stocks which will not protect ecological hot spots and fish that are important to recreational fishers from New South Wales and around Tasmania to Western Australia,” said the Tasmanian Conservation Trust’s Jon Bryan.

“The report acknowledges uncertainties around the movement patterns of the species, and that it would be prudent to distribute catches to minimise the chance of local depletion, yet there is no actual data to make a quantified risk assessment on the likelihood of localised depletion occurring and no information on the movement of target species in our region. What if there is a Tasmanian stock of jack mackerel that does not regularly move between Tasmania and the mainland, or what if similar local stocks exist in other states? We simply do not know,” said Mr Bryan.

“The report also details how the quota has been set, that it is precautionary because it is based on non-current stock assessments, and that those stock assessments have a number of uncertainties related to them. We agree that such precaution is warranted in setting these quotas, and reinforce our calls for updated stock assessments for all species before fishing begins, and that regular DEPM stock assessments be legislated,” said Ms Hubbard.

“It is fundamental that the science gaps are addressed and this report goes no way to allaying fears that the super trawler may cause localized depletion in our important small pelagic fishery,” concluded Mr Bryan.

“Whilst the formal inquiry from the Commonwealth Ombudsman into the quota setting is carried out, we believe that all Small Pelagic fishing activity by Seafish should be suspended,” concluded Ms Hubbard.


The recreational fishers of Tasmania have serious concerns surrounding the imminent introduction of a Super trawler into the Small Pelagic Fishery and potential negative effect a vessel of this kind may have on the marine environment in Tasmania.

Recreational fishers have staged a number of demonstrations across the state in the past few weeks. Rallies in Hobart, Launceston and the North West Coast gained unprecedented support never before seen on matters effecting recreational fishing.

Our group now stands publicly accused of having been fed misinformation by ENGO’s and Green political parties about the environmental effects a Super trawler will have on this fishery.

North West Recreational fisherman John Edwards said,

“These accusations have been levelled at us by a number of politicians including the Federal Minister for Fisheries Mr Joe Ludwig, the Federal Opposition Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries Tasmanian Senator Mr Richard Colebeck as well as the Super Trawler proponent Seafish Tasmania CEO Mr Gerry Geen”.

“With these accusations in mind an information forum is being convened where the issues can be clarified for the record, in person, to the recreational fishers, by the people responsible for management, governance, and running of the Super Trawler fishing operation”.

Northern Recreational fisherman Todd Lambert said,

“Personal invitations to attend and put their respective position on matters have been extended to Senator Joe Ludwig, Senator Richard Colebeck, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Federal MP Dick Adams, Federal MP Andrew Wilkie, the Australian Fish Management Authority, Seafish Tasmania Pelagic Pty Ltd and TARFish”.

“Recreational fishers have traditionally been a broad church politically and to have an inference made that we have been mislead by green groups is insulting to our people, we were in fact the ones that approached the Greens because we were not getting heard through the traditional supporters of recreational fishers, the Labor and Liberal parties. At the moment we feel the Federal Government and the Federal Opposition have turned their back on us so here is the opportunity for all the stakeholders to stand before the recreational fishers and clarify their position on the issues”

The forum will be open to the public, including all recreational fishers and will be held at the Campbell Town Hall on Sunday the 2nd of September 2012 commencing at 1.00pm.


Tim Morris MP
Greens Infrastructure Spokesperson
Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today sought confirmation from the Minister for Infrastructure David O’Byrne that plans were in place for the super trawler FV Margiris to berth at Bell Bay instead of Devonport on the 1st or 2nd of September.

Greens Infrastructure spokesperson Tim Morris MP said the Greens had received advice that a meeting took place recently between MAST, SeaFish Tasmania, TasPorts and Tasmania Police during which plans were discussed in preparation for the arrival of the Margiris at Bell Bay.

The Greens have also been advised that Tasmania police intend to, or already have, dispatched the police boat Van Dieman in preparation for the super trawler’s arrival.

“The Greens welcome the Minister’s undertaking to seek confirmation that Bell Bay is the new destination for the trawler, and we look forward to that advice being made public as soon as possible,” Mr Morris said.

“The people of Devonport would also be intrigued, I would imagine, to know why the berthing location has shifted should it be confirmed that this is the case.”

“It’s becoming fairly clear that SeaFish Tasmania has given up trying to convince the Tasmanian people that its operation will be sustainable and it is now doing its best to fly under the radar.

“The company and the Minister know that they have lost the public debate, but still they push ahead with this unsound plan which could result in local depletion of our fish stocks regardless of the consequences.”

Federal Ministers Intervention Not Ruled Out

Kim Booth MP
Greens Primary Industries spokesperson
Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today said that there is still scope for Federal intervention to turn back the controversial super trawler, the FV Margiris, from operating in Commonwealth waters.

Greens Primary Industries spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that it is heartening to see that Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke appears to be prepared to exercise his powers to seek to override his fellow Minister Senator Joe Ludwig on the basis of potential major environmental impact.

Mr Booth also said that formal correspondence from Federal Fisheries Minister Ludwig in response to a letter sent on behalf of the Tasmanian House of Assembly yesterday, confirmed that the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) still has not received an application from the Super trawler to fish in Australian waters.

“It is heartening to see reported comments by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that he could use his powers to stop the Margiris, should scientific advice warn of major environmental impacts, and we would urge Minister Burke to ensure the precautionary principle prevails,” Mr Booth said.

“Given that Senator Ludwig’s correspondence to the Speaker has confirmed that as of Wednesday AFMA still have not received an operating application for the Margiris, there is a window of opportunity to stop the trawler, and stop it now.”

“We just hope that these two federal ministers are not playing some form of ‘good cop, bad cop’ in an attempt to appease the proponents and fob off the community.”

“The Margiris not getting an operational licence, or Tony Burke intervening on environmental would be consistent with the intent of the successful tripartite amended motion passed by the Tasmanian Lower House,” Mr Booth said.


1. Letter from the Tasmanian House of Assembly Speaker, the Hon. Michael Polley MP to the Federal Fisheries Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, Wednesday 22 August 2012.

2. Copy of Senator Ludwig’s response, Wednesday 22 August 2012.