Supertrawlers Banned from Australia: Good News, But…

Written by on January 6, 2015 in Policy & Ocean Law

Last month, the federal government permanently banned supertrawlers (vessels longer than 130 meters) from Australian waters.

FV Margiris. Photo CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

FV Margiris. Photo CC BY 2.0 Wikimedia Commons.

Temporary bans were implemented two years ago in an attempt to blog the FV Margiris, which, at the time, was the world’s second-largest trawler. It was capable of processing 250 tonnes of fish a day from it’s 300-meter long net. This ban was set to expire in April, but now it has been made permanent.

Trawling is an unselective method of fishing — the nets scoop up everything and anything in its path. The nets on some supertrawlers can be wide enough to fly an A380 airplane through so the amount of bycatch (accidental, unwanted catch) is enormous. Supertrawlers can contribute to the collapse of local fisheries, putting the livelihoods of local fishers at risk.

“The government is determined that Australian fisheries management remain among the best in the world,” a statement released last month explained. According to parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck, vessels longer than 130 meters will no longer be allowed to fish in Australian waters.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, some are not satisfied with the length-limit. Stop the Trawler Alliance has criticized the decision, saying it still allows smaller vessels with large industrial fishing capacity. Instead, they suggest making the ban dependent on fishing capacity, not vessel length.

To learn more about supertrawlers, check out some of these links:

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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