IN excellent news for Australian fish stocks, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority has confirmed the midwater super trawler, the Geelong Star, which has been operating in Australian waters since April 2015, is no longer under Australian jurisdiction.
Inquiries about the decision to leave Australian waters or future fishing operations of the Geelong Star should be directed to the operator.
The Geelong Star is not currently subject to any investigation by AFMA for breaches of Commonwealth fishing regulations.
The trawler has been penalised in the past for killing dolphins, fur seals and albatrosses and was widely disliked by the Australian recreational fishing public for its devastating impacts on fish stocks and other wildlife. While fishing Australian waters, the Geelong Star had access to the majority of the Small Pelagic Fishery, which stretches from Perth to northern Queensland. While the Small Pelagic Fishery was set up for the benefit of Australians, who also footed the bill for management and research, the majority of Geelong Star’s catch was sent to West Africa.
It is not currently known whether the ship intends to return to fish Australian waters, however Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine has discovered the ship’s Automatic Identification System details its current location as being about 60 nautical miles off the southern coast of South Africa.