Marine environmentalists warn incoming New Zealand trawlers – leave our seamounts alone
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has slammed the federal government for allowing New Zealand factory trawlers to fish orange roughy in Tasmanian waters because of the disastrous damage they are causing to deep-sea coral reefs .
Trawlers, owned by large New Zealand industrial fishing companies like Talleys and federally licensed to fish under Australian laws, recently crossed the Tasmane and are already fishing orange roughy around the ridges of the seamountains. .
Recent science, published since last winter’s orange roughy fishing season and supported by a major CSIRO research trip in 2018, has shown that this type of fishing is probably the most destructive fishing still allowed in Australia. This research has shown that the impacts of fishing on deep-sea coral reefs last for decades and possibly even centuries. because they target the very vulnerable orange roughy which itself can live for over 200 years.
Deep-water trawlers capture orange roughy when they congregate to breed on the ridges of seamounts or seamounts. These peaks should shelter ancient coral reefs, very rich in biodiversity and extremely vulnerable. Extensive underwater video studies have shown that these reefs have been destroyed on almost every seamount that has been fished for orange roughy.
Other research, also published since the last orange roughy fishing season, shows that a few patches of intact coral reefs remain on seamounts open to fishing in 2015.. The Australian government has taken no action based on this science to protect our deep-sea coral reefs, and the fishery appears poised to operate this season as if these damning findings did not exist.
Adrian Meder, Head of Sustainable Seafood at AMCS, said: “It is 2021 and our government thinks Australians want to allow a fishery that we know is destroying coral reefs in Australia. Not only that, we’re going to call on the vessels of the scandal-ridden New Zealand deep-sea trawler fleet to do it for us, allowing them to do all the damage and reap most of the profits. “
In recent years, New Zealand’s deep-sea trawler fleet has been caught throwing thousands of tonnes of unwanted catch., several vessels were seized for illegally fishing in protected areas, and violated international regulations, destroying coral reefs in the high seas between New Zealand and Australia.
“Earlier this year, this fishery failed even the non-demanding Marine Stewardship Council sustainability test, failing to achieve its eco-certification. This means that they won’t even be able to sell the fish they catch for the premium that certification attracts. They would suck up nearly two thousand tonnes of our orange roughy and sell most of it overseas at the lowest price.
“We don’t want these habitat-destroying boats in our waters. They should never return until after science is respected and every piece of coral reef still intact is fully protected from any fishing in marine reserves, and our orange roughy stocks are fully recovered from historic overfishing. . “