23 November 2016

Geelong Star gone forever from Australian waters

The Geelong Star fishing trawler has left Australian waters for good.   After such a long battle campaigning for this trawler to be banned, this is wonderful news.

It is also great news that this vessel no longer bears the name of our great city.

In a statement on its website, Dutch owners Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV said it had chosen to stop the fishing activities of the FV Geelong Star in Australia.  It stated it could not reach a commercial agreement with the local partners in Australia, Seafish Australia.

There is no doubt the campaign against this vessel helped to drive it from Australian waters.

The ship has been reflagged from the Australian to the Dutch flag and is on its way to the Dutch port city of IJmuiden. The old name of the ship, the KW 172 Dirk Dirk, has been reinstated.

This news follows earlier advice provided to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) that the trawler was no longer within Australia’s jurisdiction.  During transit and after leaving Australian waters, the vessel was removed from the Australian Shipping Register. 

As a non-Australian flagged vessel, this means it could no longer operate in compliance with the Fisheries Management Act 1991.  

I have always argued that the Geelong Star was no star of the sea, and certainly no star of Geelong.  It was an embarrassment that this vessel was named after our great city. I also campaigned for the name to be stripped from this vessel.

In my view, the scientific evidence to support this type of fishing of the Small Pelagic Fishery was not conclusive and the protected marine mammal deaths caused by the Geelong Star were completely unacceptable.

In the electorate of Corangamite, which includes 188km of coastline, there is very significant opposition to this trawler.

I have long campaigned for a complete ban on the operations of the Geelong Star.  From our rally held in Torquay last October to our community petition to lobbying the Prime Minister, I have been a very strong community voice on this issue.

I thank Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Agriculture Minister Senator Anne Ruston for listening to the concerns of my constituents.

This is a great victory for recreational fishers, for environmentalists, for our precious oceans and for the people of Corangamite.

23 November 2016