Super Trawler

Federal Labor is committed to the sustainable management of Australia’s marine resources. 

When in government we carefully looked after our oceans and those who used them. As a result, Australia’s fisheries are among the most sustainable and best managed in the world.

In government, Labor ensured appropriate consideration was given to the impact of super trawlers on Australia’s fisheries by amending the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Our amendment guaranteed Australia’s waters were adequately protected from risks associated with the use of super trawlers.

In September 2012, the then Labor Government used these powers to ban the operation of the FV Margiris, known as the ‘super trawler’, while an assessments of its impact was undertaken. We established an independent expert panel to provide an objective judgment of the environmental impacts of this trawling activity. This ban applied to vessels of similar size and capacity to the original super trawler only, and included vessels that received or processed fish, not just trawler vessels.

The ban was opposed by the Liberals in Opposition.

As you may be aware, a sunset clause in the original amendments enacted in 2012 meant that no further bans can be placed on new supertrawlers hoping to fish Australian waters.

To ensure that further bans are possible, in early 2014 Labor Senator Joe Ludwig introduced legislation into the Senate to remove the sunset clause. Under Labor’s plan all future super trawlers could be thoroughly assessed using the most up-to-date science, thereby protecting our oceans and our recreational fishing spots. To date the Liberal Government has refused to work with Labor on this important issue.

Labor will prevent the operation of all super trawlers in Australian waters, unless a thorough assessment against the most up-to-date science can verify such operations will not undermine small pelagic fisheries and recreational fishing spots.

Labor was also proud to deliver the world’s largest marine reserve network, after 20 years of bipartisan work. These conservation values of our reserves has now been completely undermined by the Government, which has undone the marine reserve management plans developed under Labor and recently embarked on an entirely new and wasteful consultation process.


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