Mr Burke on Tuesday said he would place several precautionary conditions on the operation of the factory fishing boat, dubbed the “super trawler”.
Mr Burke on Tuesday said he would place several precautionary conditions on the operation of the factory fishing boat, dubbed the “super trawler”. Greenpeace

What's Burke's job?: Waters

QUEENSLAND Greens Senator Larissa Waters says Environment Minister Tony Burke has not done enough to stop a massive Dutch trawler from fishing Australian waters.

While Mr Burke said he simply did not have the power to stop the FV Margiris from fishing in Australian water, he could put conditions on its operations.

Senator Waters challenged the Federal Environment Minister saying if he could not stop the trawler, "then what exactly is his job?"

She has again raised concerns that the handing of federal environmental powers to the states could have dire impacts for the environment, particularly in her home state.

"The Australian Government should step up to their responsibilities and strengthen our environment laws, instead of washing their hands of environment protection and allowing our precious places and wildlife to be trashed for a quick buck," she said.

Mr Burke on Tuesday said he would place several precautionary conditions on the operation of the factory fishing boat, dubbed the "super trawler".

The vessel, under the operation of SeaFish Tasmania, was given an allowable quota of 18,000 tonnes of small fish, an approval currently under investigation by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Mr Burke said he wanted to ensure the trawler - which has a 2000-tonne fishing capacity - had no more impact than if the same quota was given to a smaller vessel.

"The conditions I have developed will require the super trawler to adopt world's-best practice methods to avoid listed species, particularly seals, dolphins and sea birds being killed or injured during its trawling operations," he said.

Two conditions include that if one or more dolphins are killed during a mid-water trawl, three or more seal deaths in three consecutive shots or more than 10 seal deaths in 24 hours, the trawler must stop operating, talk to the government observer onboard and review the mitigation measures.

Other conditions include:

  • The vessel cannot fish in Australian sea lion hunting grounds;
  • An observer would be on board, along with an underwater camera record of the catch 24 hours a day;
  • Require seal and seabird management plans and gear handling and net setting rules be in place before trawling begins;
  • Require daily reporting on any incidents involving protected wildlife and regular reviews of the vessels response to such incidents.

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