Trawler and the hidden truths UPDATE 10/9/12 other articles below
So the truth leaks into my email box, self interest on the boards
that endorsed the super trawler, dodgy quotas and the supporting science, and
hastily registered new companies fishing Australia to buy up licences, with the
aim of raping our oceans of over 36,000 tonnes of our precious bait fish.
The information below this text is a collation of information from
my 4 week expose of the new “Super Trawler” and its Australian registration as
the “Abel Tasman” allowing it to operate within our waters, since its release
many hidden truths about the self interest and dodgy practices used to allow
this destructive ship into our waters has surfaced.
Last night and this morning I have been enlightened to the many
issues faced by those at the forefront of the fishing industry since February
this year, when the first news of the “Marguis” a super trawler from the EU
fleet wanted access to our fisheries.
The massive trawler can take in thousands of tonnes of fish in a
number of days, so heading into our waters was reliant on its ability to access
over 36,000 tonnes of fish, but the licences to do so were not available, in
fact the science would not have even supported the available licences of around
8,000 tonnes, let alone the method in which this ship operates.
So the Dutch owners of the trawler needed our present system to
change, and they succeeded where in the past they had failed, a recent meeting in February this year of the FSMA,
allowed the doubling of quotas, coincidentally for the species of fish they
were after “Pelagic” allowing their sponsor Gerry Green of Seafish Australia to
find just above the break even catch size of 15,000 tonnes, where the beginning
of this story gets interesting, is that those who voted in favour of the quota
increase all had a conflict of interest.
“It has become obvious Dutch money is buying up our fisheries with
foreign EU subsidies”
Gerry Green should never have sat on the board, and many of the
others were to sell their quotas to Gerry in any respect, making matters worse,
the licences were not to be purchased by Greens company Seafish Tasmania, but a
new shelf company only registered after the fact, called “Seafish Tasmania pelagic
pty. Ltd.” ASIC searches clearly show the Dutch interests in this newly formed
company, a very interesting situation considering the laws associated with
ownership of fishing licences in Australia.
“Minutes of the 28 February 2012 SPFRAG meeting, have only just
reappeared shortly after I questioned as did many their whereabouts”, see www.afma.gov.au
ASIC searches of the new shelf company show the following owners.
Address: Waterbospark Jz Rijnsburg, Netherlands
Born: 21/12/1977, , NETHERLANDS
Appointment date: 20/04/2012
Name: DIRK VAN DER PLAS 1E8288852
Address: Mallebrugga Bv Katwijk, Netherlands
Born: 28/12/1978, , NETHERLANDS
Appointment date: 20/04/2012
Name: GERALD JOHN GEEN 027417657
Address, KIAMA NSW 2533
Born: 27/04/1959, , UNITED KINGDOM
Appointment date: 21/05/2012
Ultimate Holding Company
Name: PP GROEP KATWIJK B.V. 1F0382602
Org No.: 158 703 881
These are the people who now own the various licences and in the
name of a supposed Australian company, who intend to rape our oceans of upwards
of 36,000 tonnes of pelagic fish, the very same feed stock most of our fish
stocks and endangered species are reliant upon.
Questions remaining unanswered, in fact unasked include the new
chair of the board Dr. Jim Ward recent appointment considering where his income
is coming from, but I will leave that question to our paid representatives.
But this is not the devastating part of the leaks that should sink
this whole issue, the big issue is in the dodgy science and the long term
affects to our precious fisheries, over the past week, I have spoken with
fishing fleets being put out of work, trawler operators aghast at this decision
to allow the “Super Trawler” access to our oceans, the president of the game
fishing society, members of the AFMA, PFRAG, and many who prefer to remain silent
in fear of retribution from the fishing industry.
In previous articles I have condemned the issue of “By Catch”
those pretty words that cover up destruction of protected species, and yes I
stand by that position, but seems the facts available to the public are the tip
of the ice berg, as recent information takes the problem beyond any idea of
acceptable collateral damage.
A Trawler travelling at 5 knots, towing a huge net the length of
the Sydney harbour bridge, simply destroys fish stocks like Sardines, yet from
the bridge of such a huge ship, schools of bait fish look the same on the
sonar, yet this boat is not licensed to take sardines, so hundreds of tonnes
sucked up by its huge vacuums, will simply be tossed over the side dead,
hundreds of thousands of tonnes, fish that will no longer be available to licensed
South Australian fisherman, or indeed the many game fish that rely on them as
“Endangered and protected species will also be destroyed by the
hundreds of tonnes”
In 2011 similar attempts to fish our waters by another similar vessel
from the EU, resulted in a little more truth, when the skipper fronted the AFMA
(minutes of 11/11/2011) where it was admitted by the skipper “Per Pebick” they
had wiped out similar fish stocks in other countries, noting Australia was one
of the last remaining stocks in the world.
Even when we look at the research sited for the quota expansions,
the very same information supplied to the Australian government, the terms of
reference are over 10 years old, something I consider selective to support the
position of those who have the most to gain financially from all the preferred
“AFMA’s Harvest Strategy for the Small Pelagic Fishery prohibits
the use of such data” yet the AFMA and the government ignored the guidelines” The
quota decision therefore contravened AFMA’s own government-approved Harvest
Strategy for the SPF (small pelagic fisheries).
Research for the western fishing zones simply does not exist, so
when and if the Trawler hits the west coast, the damage is an unknown quantity,
even more shallow than the research used to increase the quotas in the east
Pelagic fish species are a common property resource, as such are
owned by we the people, and their
importance in our eco system is paramount, so this issue is not just about
greed, self interest and corporate spin, it is about the long term sustainability
of our fisheries and in fact our costal eco-system.
I seriously doubt total arrogance was the reason the “Super
Trawler” set sail to Australia before it had government of fishery’s approval,
let alone quotas worthy of such a huge trip, it would seem more appropriate to believe it come
on a promise, a promise from whom and what for, are worthy questions indeed.
This issue commands more than simple questions, but more so a full
enquiry, the previous federal government stopped the entry of the foreign-owned
super trawler, Veronica, eight years ago. That was after a national
public campaign led by Recfish Australia made Australians aware that the
foreign vessel would be attacking our small pelagic fish stocks before we
really knew the size and biology of their populations. It’s an even worse
situation now, as the quotas have been massively increased, yet the science is
the same, if science then was inadequate then, it is a total failure now.
Independent Federal candidate for Wakefield SA
ABOUT THE SUPER TRAWLER
Many in the political arena made the decision to allow the
Super Trawler to fish in Australia based on fishing quotas, the science being
put forward to them so far, supports this massive Trawler, but are our
representatives blinded by short term vision, the very fact they have become used to listening
to supposed experts rather than what we the people want and deserve, so what is
the bigger picture, the long term consequences?
Many links (CLICK HERE
) and information sources
disputes the science relating to the quotas, but this simply diverts our eyes
from the more pressing issues.
A primary question certainly relates to "what spin are the polly’s
being fed" to back part of a fleet that has been not only banned from many
sovereign nations but exposed on many occasions damaging local fisheries and
killing protected species?
As a political activist of many years, I say follow the
money, it always paints an honest picture, usually in the colour of self
interest, and always contact those in the Industry in the search of the truth.
My initial response to this issue several weeks ago, was to
check over the legislation, which clearly showed many avenues to restrict the
ability of this ship to be registered in Australia, yet the government act as
if they had no choice, which equates to nothing more than lazy governance, and
considering Wayne swan had the last word, they must accept the decision was entirely
The first of the Dutch trawlers came all this way to reap 18,000
tonnes of bait fish, yet makes very little if any profit on the deal, making
its way on EU subsidies and discounted fuel, why?
Seafish Tasmania supplies the usually lucrative fishing
licence quota, which should I remind you were just doubled by the board, which
the owner of Seafish Tasmania Gerry Green sits, a matter that stinks of self
"The Commonwealth Ombudsman is
investigating the Australian Fisheries management Authorities approval process
as a result".
Seafish Tasmania’s as a company get a disturbingly low $1 a
kilo, yet pay the huge overheads of fuelling and staffing the trawler, while it
flies under the dodgy name “Abel Tasman” so even 15,000 tonnes of fish, is only
a break even, so why the risk, when the usual methods of fishing such quotas
are financially rewarding and create bigger employment opportunities?
Another important matter is the word “By Catch” which is a
gentle term for the mass murder of protected species like, Sea lions, sea birds
and Dolphins is an environmental issue not to be over looked, when we consider
the fact our present fishing methods are much easier able to ensure the safety
of these gentle creatures.
When one considers the issue of “By Catch” we are
confronted with figures that are very misleading, for instance even a low figure
of 5% would equate to 900 tonnes of destruction” which is simply not good enough!
This expose also demands we also cast our eyes over the
Australian federal government subsidies; yes, they are paying companies like Seafish
to export our food stocks, so it appears even if the trawler is a failure on
the financial front, Gerry Green and his Seafish Company set to profit regardless,
by our own taxes, why?
So far we have a huge trawler with a history of fishery
devastation, coming all this way to do what for them is a few months work
catching fish in Australian waters, which is not for Aussie consumers but
rather for overseas export, all those involved in the deal, profit more from
government subsidies than commercial interest, so what exactly is going on
Could it be that the profits will be kept of shore and out
of site by those who receive the final processed catch, considering it is the
one question that cannot be answered by any searches or the many enquirys I
So many questions with very little answers, until we look at
the big picture, that of the precedent this whole process sets, this game is
all about a manipulation, getting past the protesters and enquiries, painting a
picture of super trawlers as the future of fishing, because leaks direct to me,
show the original plan remains unchanged, they want the whole damn fleet of
these “Super Trawlers” fishing in Australian waters.
The why is very simple, Australian has one of the best
fisheries in the world, and they want the fish, we are one of the few country's that have acted in a
sustainable way, in fact after speaking to many in the professional fishing
industry, it appears for many years we have fished the seas under what many
call an acceptable quota.
While writing and investigating this sad issue, my memory is
often taken back to fishing as a child with my grandfather, and the lessons he
taught me back then, throwing back undersized before such limits applied,
avoiding breeding grounds and the like, such great people that built this fine
country must be rolling in their graves at the present path of our society and
our supposed representatives, when it comes to sustainability and our nations
long term future.
On line petitions reaching near 100,000 signatures (SIGN HERE) shows the
peoples position, and I am sure these numbers will continue to grow as the
truth filters into the public arena, I am also pleased to see many of our
elected officials start to stand and question the many issues that are being
dragged up by the many media reports and protests being held all over the
The biggest issue is that of political expediency, as the
federal Labor party appear by recent performance, to be ignorant of the will of
The Tasmanian parliament are standing up as are the South
Australian members of parliament, one would hope that with the support of the
public, democracy will prevail, I for one will stand alongside any who oppose
this rape and pillage of our country’s future, even the South Australian Labor
party, wouldn’t that make an interesting photo.
For me this issue is like most I have investigated over the
past decade, Australian farmers and producers, manufacturing, primary land
holdings and now fishing is all headed the way of water and power generation,
owned and operated by the largest corporations, who are out to line their own
pockets, rather than do what is best for the country or the economy, coincidentally
these are the same big corporations that fund our 2 party political system.
Stopping this Trawler can and must be achieved or the next
fight will be a fleet of them, by a voice that will have been further diminished,
so act now, get your family and friends to support this very important issue, send
emails, write to your local representative and find time to support future
rallies, for the cost of inaction will indeed be a price too high for future
generations to pay.
Mark Aldridge "Independent federal candidate for Wakefield SA" 08 82847482 / 0403379500