Bega Valley Shire Council motion to condemn factory trawlers

WELL TRAVELLED: Stop the Trawler Alliance's Ginny Gerlach in Bega on Thursday ahead of her visit to the Canberra Yellowfin Tuna Tournament in Bermagui over the weekend.
WELL TRAVELLED: Stop the Trawler Alliance's Ginny Gerlach in Bega on Thursday ahead of her visit to the Canberra Yellowfin Tuna Tournament in Bermagui over the weekend.

This Wednesday’s council meeting will see a motion to condemn the activities of super trawlers and factory freezer trawlers, such as the controversial Geelong Star.

The motion has been raised by Cr Keith Hughes and coincides with a visit to the region’s recent amateur fishing competitions and businesses by well traveled conservation activist Ginny Gerlach.

After years spent trying to save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction, Ms Gerlach has relocated to Tasmania and has taken on the issue of over-fishing in Australian waters.

Ginny Gerlach in Bega on Thursday, May 12.

Ginny Gerlach in Bega on Thursday, May 12.

She was invited by a number of amateur fishing clubs to discuss the issue during recent tournaments.

“Something like 42 per cent of the tourism dollars spent in this region come from or are related to recreational fishing and that is way more than in any other coastal region,” she said.

So far this year the vessel has been involved in a number of controversies that have lead to Cr Hughes putting forward the motion.

"The Geelong Star has killed dolphins, seals and, for me the last straw, it caught a whale shark,” he said.

Cr Hughes said he was hoping to get a clear signal from council towards the use of the vessels in local waters to then be put forward to member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy.

"They are a disaster for the environment, for other fishers and for the region's small business economy,” Cr Hughes said. 

“They contribute nothing: they don't even call in to ports on our coast and leave a trail of destruction, by-catch, decimation of target species, and even kill threatened species such as albatross.”

Member for Bega Andrew Constance has shared his opposition to its local presence while Dr Hendy is hoping for a “workable compromise”.

“I'm hoping council will join me in requesting Dr Hendy get off the fence and listen to his electorate,” Cr Hughes said.

"Dr Hendy has sat on the fence on this issue calling for discussion, suggesting to his aggrieved constituents they relay their concerns to the regulators who are there to help facilitate the trawler industry and frankly that approach is not good enough.”

This story Motion made to condemn Geelong Star first appeared on Bega District News.