Don't let trawler in: Stehr

TUNA baron Hagen Stehr has hit out angrily at the federal government for allowing the super trawler FV Margiris to fish in Australian waters.

Mr Stehr said the vessel hasn’t been allowed to fish in the waters of a number of countries around the world.

“The Australian government is the only one stupid enough to take it,” he said.

“You can’t just bring a vacuum cleaner like that into our waters ... it’s just wrong.”

Mr Stehr said he had heard all of the arguments about the boat fishing under strict quota but said it was still wrong of the government, which controls the southern bluefin tuna quota, to allow it to fish in Australian waters.

Mr Stehr said the by-catch figures from the trawler were simply not acceptable and there should be a public outburst to the federal government to prevent it from fishing here.

“We pride ourselves on our strictly controlled fisheries, the best fisheries in the world are in Australia, and then the government let’s this happen.

“Those ding-a-lings from AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) in Canberra shouldn’t let a ship like that in, it wasn’t welcome anywhere else.”

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is seeking urgent advice about whether he can try to stop the super trawler MV Margiris fishing off the Australian coast.

His announcement follows concern about the integrity of the process that boosted the allowable catch of the giant trawler, which is expected to operate off south-eastern Australia.

Mr Burke is taking advice on whether the super trawler may breach endangered species legislation.

‘’The principal thing that I’m looking at is whether at the same time they’re targeting the particular bait fish... what other marine species get taken as bycatch and get swept up in the nets at the same time,’’ he told the ABC yesterday.

Hagen Stehr

Hagen Stehr