Monday, September 3, 2012


The Australian, Tuesday, September 4, 2012, in The Nation, on page 3, reported on how the 'Super-trawler takes different tack to avoid protests.' The headline referred to the world's biggest super-trawler that has moved into Australian waters to work for a Tasmanian company. It is reported that Environment Minister, Tony Burke, in response to a fierce campaign against the super-trawler by environmental groups, 'has proposed immediate conditions that will operate for two weeks to give the trawler operators a chance to repsond before they become permanent.'
'The new rules force the trawler operators, Seafish Tasmania, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that threatened species, cetaceans and listed marine species are unharmed.'
'The Abel Tasman is twice the size of of any vessel ever to fish in Australian waters and will target more than 18,000 tonnes of small pelagic fish.'
Minister Burke said, "I want to ensure the environmental impact is no more than if the same quota were being fished by a smaller vessell."
'Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Green said an AFMA by-catch mitigation expert and a European net and excluder design expert would be onboard for the first trip.'

So, everything will be fine? Well, with the words and language anyhow, after all, isn't this all that condiitons are meant to manage?

The interesting words here are: 'a chance to respond' - these conditions are not formalised as permanent controls yet; and 'take all reasonable steps' - just what is reasonable and what is not?

And what will happen if  threatened species, cetaceans and listed marine species are harmed? Is this defined? No, it appears not. This, after all, is the essence of conditions - to overcome objections and to bury or postpone real issues: to get rid of the nuisances.

The 'Eurpoean net and excluder design' reference appeals to our cringe mentlaity - it must be good, like their cars; and the presence of the expert? What is this person going to do? Look? Connt? One is just puzzled by the words that all sound good, but seem to avoid any definitive, manageable, even measurable, outcome. Well, after all, they are talking about 'conditions.'


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