There is uncertainty about the impact of such large vessels on marine species

Australia banned supertrawlers fishing in its southern waters for two years on Monday, saying there was uncertainty about the impact of such large vessels on species such as dolphins and seals.

Environment Minister Tony Burke in September blocked the 9,500-tonne, 143-metre (469-foot) Abel Tasman from operating for 60 days until more scientific research was completed.

The Dutch-owned vessel, previously known as the Margiris, planned to trawl off Tasmania, but environmental campaign group Greenpeace voiced fears its haul could include threatened species in its by-catch and deplete fish stocks.


Super trawler 'FV Margiris'. (Photo Credit: Greenpeace)

On Monday Burke extended the ban -- which covers the Small Pelagic Fishery running along the country's southern coast from near Perth in the west almost to the Queensland border in the east -- for the maximum 24 months allowed.

"I've signed off on there being a two-year ban... for supertrawlers to be operating in our waters," he told reporters in Canberra.

So-called "supertrawlers" are designed to store a much larger amount of fish on board than ordinary trawlers, so that they can remain at sea for much longer periods before having to return to port.

Source: Space Daily