Geelong Star spotted sailing past Narooma, angers local member and fishers

The controversial factory trawler Geelong Star has again been spotted off the Far South Coast by fishermen on and off the water.

The same resident on the Old Highway south of Narooma who contacted the Narooma News in April has again spotted the Geelong Star cruising south past Montague Island.on Thursday and again on Saturday.

Federal fisheries authorities have allowed Geelong Star to operate without its automatic identification system so there is no way to confirm its exact location, but our source says the ship was travelling north on Thursday and then on Saturday, she seemed to do a lap of area known at “The Kink” before heading south.  

The vessel meanwhile was spotted operating off Batemans Bay on Sunday, August 14 sparking the ire of local fishermen and even the local State Member, even though the vessel operates in the Federal or Commonwealth jurisdiction.

“I can’t say how disappointed I am that the federal government agency responsible for fisheries is allowing this operation off Batemans Bay and the Far South Coast,” Mr Constance said in a social media post.

“Our region deserves the same protections as other areas. I am going to maintain pressure on Canberra about this. People are furious.”

Mr Constance’s sentiments were echoed by a Bay Post/Moruya Examiner reader who sent the picture above, taken on Sunday last week. 

Pino Vecchi of Malua Bay wrote: “So sad to see the Geelong Star back again in our waters raping our ocean.It was straight out from Batemans Bay - 20 degree waters, 1000 fathoms, dragging nets. Bait fish? Seriously? They were next to us. We were marking and catching yellowfin tuna. What do they do? Tell the tuna not to swim in the nets?”

Local fishers are worried about the impact of the Geelong Star on the local economy. Tyrone O’Connor is fearful of the long-term impact the trawler will have on fish stocks if it keeps up its concentrated effort in Narooma and Bermagui waters and therefore the impact on the economy of fishing towns that rely on visiting recreational anglers and their perception of a healthy fishery.

The Stop the Super Trawler group has posted this map claiming the Geelong Star is only allowed to work three area and so will cause localised depletion of fish stocks. “The whole total allowable catch (nearly double the Geelong Star's quota) can be taken from just five of the 120 small areas in three locations. Goodbye Bermagui. Goodbye St Helens Tasmania. Goodbye Portland, Victoria.”