Proposed fines for rogue prawn trawlers ‘not enough’

A plan to put a stop to damaging practices by some trawler operators has been welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

The Queensland Government is looking at banning the use of metal spikes or plough-like attachments on trawl sleds.

“AMCS is pleased the government has responded to the concerns of fishers and conservation groups about these damaging metal devices,” AMCS Fisheries Campaigner Josh Coates said.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


“Known colloquially as ‘rippers’ or ‘ploughs’, these devices are designed to dig into the seafloor to increase seafloor catches, causing harm to the marine environment, and threatening the health of prawn stocks,” Mr Coates explained.

“This ban is long overdue.”

Mr Coates acknowledged that there are many prawn trawl operators who care about the sustainability of their industry, but said the actions of a few have been jeopardising the industry and the environment.

However, he was concerned about the fines being proposed, claiming they would do little to deter the rogue operators.

“Given the short term profits to be made, a $1178 ‘slap on the wrist’ will not be enough of a deterrent.”

“AMCS will be closely examining proposed regulations and is calling on the government to increase the fine substantially.”