Geelong Star dolphin deaths show regulator has failed
The Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments on reports that the recently arrived super trawler, the Geelong Star, has already caused the deaths of four dolphins and two seals.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The Liberal Government and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) gave the Geelong Star a green light to fish a fortnight ago and already it has drowned four dolphins.
“The tick of approval given by the regulator was supposed to cover off on risks posed to marine animals such as dolphins, but clearly it has failed.
“This is a public relations disaster of the highest magnitude for our fisheries regulators and for proponents of new industrial fishing trawlers.
“It is also a tragedy for the marine mammals drowned by one of the largest fishing nets ever used in this country.
“Industrial fishing advocates are saying that whilst the recent death of dolphins and seals are ‘regrettable’ that this is an acceptable reality of this kind of fishing activity.
“Most Australians would find this position totally unacceptable. The death of a single dolphin is one death too many.
“Is the Government going to side with the values of the community who think that dolphin deaths are unacceptable, or are they going to side with industrial fishers who think dolphin deaths are okay?
“Is Richard Colbeck going to choose to continue to be the advocate for industrial fishing in parliament or is he finally to do the job he is supposed to do and regulate the industry to community standards?
“If one more dolphin drowns, then the public can no longer have any confidence in Richard Colbeck to properly regulate the fishing industry in this country.
“If Richard Colbeck allows the Geelong Star back out to sea, and one more dolphin dies, then I think Australians will call for this parliamentary scalp,” he concluded.