Tag Archives: Australia

Resurgence of illegal Indonesian fishers ‘unacceptable’ as companies say stocks are suffering

Fishers say highly organised illegal poaching of Australia’s fish and marine life is having a significant impact on fish stocks in the country’s remote northern waters. Northern Wildcatch Seafood operator Grant Barker, whose fleet of five boats fish remote waters off the West Australian and Northern Territory coast, said it was common to see Indonesian fishing boats operating within Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He was concerned about the impact of illegal fishing on Australia’s fish stocks.  “Depending on the time of the year and where our boats are fishing, we might have interactions with them 15 or 20 times a year,” he said. Mr Barker said illegal fishing was highly organised and designed to take as much catch as possible. Photos, video, >>click to read<< 11:59

Australia: Coastal wind farms – This Sunday, the people say ‘no’ again 

When the first coastal wind farms were announced by Energy Minister Chris Bowen, I thought I was dreaming. Australia has some of the best beaches in the world. People come to this country to see its unspoilt natural beauty. Despite a 42 per cent decline following the lockdowns, tourism remains Australia’s 14th-largest export industry. Along with education, it is one of the most sustainable industries that contributes to our standard of living. Nobody wants to come to Australia to see rotting wind turbines at our beaches. They can visit their own failed renewable energy white elephants at home. To make matters worse, our energy minister is pitching his vibe to elite activists while refusing to listen to ordinary Australians. Today they will gather in the surf near Port Stephens. The protest is called Paddle Out.  >>click to read<< 10:21

Gillespie calls for Labor to abandon Offshore Wind Farm

Federal Nationals Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie has addressed Parliament, speaking out against the Offshore Wind farm proposed off the coast of his electorate. In July the federal government declared a wind farm zone covering more than 1800 square kilometres from Swansea in the south to Port Stephens in the north Dr Gillespie recently attended and addressed an anti-wind farm rally in Port Stephens attended by nearly 2,000 people. “These trillion dollar-plus energy plans by Labor, Greens and Teal Independents is something we simply cannot afford,” Dr Gillespie told Parliament “I can assure all of the people who have expressed their concerns about this project that I am absolutely opposed to this development which will have a significant negative impact on our region and the people of Australia. Feasibility studies and the eventual project will detrimentally impact whale and dolphin acoustics, migration and pod behaviour, and marine bird life will suffer like it does from land-based wind farms. Dr Gillespie said there would be enormous financial cost on the $1bn local commercial fishing industry, commercial freighters, blue water and the tourism economy. >>click to read<< 20:52

Lobster season underway, but South Australian fishers still missing out on Chinese trade

Lobster fishers in South Australia’s southern zone are heading out today to set their pots for the start of the season. After a two-year trial, the season’s September 1 start date has become permanent in the hope it will help get lobsters onto the plates of those celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Robe lobster fisher Paul Regnier supports the change. “It has been a real bonus for us,” he said. But China is still not allowing Mr Regnier’s catch into the country — officially, at least. China’s 2020 ban on Australian lobsters sent prices crashing and exporters were forced to find new markets for the crustaceans. >>click to read<< 10:34

Forty years since Narooma lobster case that could have transformed Indigenous fishing rights in NSW

Norm Patten’s eyes light up when he talks about lobster season. “When you see that yellow wattle come out mate, you know the lobsters are travelling up the coast,” Mr Patten said. The eastern rock lobster can be found along the continental shelf off Australia’s south-eastern coast. Mr Patten’s mum was a Monaro-Gunai woman and he grew up in Victoria’s East Gippsland region and in Narooma on the NSW far south coast. He and his siblings were taught by their stepfather how to spot lobsters’ horns poking out of the seaweed at low tide. By the time Mr Patten was an adult, a commercial rock lobster industry was established on the far south coast and strict catch limits were introduced for recreational fishers. >>click to read<< 07:54

South Australia rejects proposed Southern Ocean offshore wind energy zone over lobster industry concern

One state is bucking a push for more wind farms in Australia due to fears the gigantic renewable energy generators could damage vulnerable ocean wildlife and put hundreds of fishermen out of work. South Australia has officially notified the federal government it does not support a proposed Southern Ocean offshore wind farm zone stretching from Warrnambool in Victoria to Port MacDonnell in the state’s southeast Limestone Coast region. Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said the construction of massive turbines could damage the state’s $187.5m rock lobster industry, which generates more than 1000 full time jobs in the area. >>click to read<< 11:17

Limestone Coast community fears it has a lot to lose if offshore wind zone goes ahead in Southern Ocean

Australia’s Southern Ocean has some of the best wind resources in the world and is set to play a prominent part in the nation’s energy future. But in a small town on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, opposition to the development of offshore wind farms is fierce.  Chris Carrison is an abalone diver and chair of Southern Coast Ocean Care, a group of Port Macdonnell residents against offshore wind. “Particularly from the cray fishermen and the future of their industry, but just the general public that they’re going to look out of their front yard and see a wind tower in the future.” Mr Carrison said locals were concerned the development could have a devastating effect on the local lobster fishing industry and the environment. >click to read< 08:02

This Fisherman’s Catch of the Day? A Kangaroo Stranded in the Ocean.

What’s the last thing you’d expect to reel in while out on a fishing boat? A kangaroo! But that’s precisely what one fisherman encountered while out on his vessel. Kangala Wildlife Rescue received a call from said fisherman, who was heading back to shore to deliver the exhausted animal into their care. The trouble was, the kangaroo was beginning to wake up… and you certainly don’t want an angry kangaroo bouncing around your boat!  Rescuers had to act quickly to sedate the roo, and then transport it back to their wildlife center to evaluate its health. Photos, >click to read< 09:44

Mullet fishers keep proud tradition alive for next generation along south-east Queensland beaches

For more than a century, commercial fishermen have been gathering on some of Queensland’s most popular beaches every winter, poised for action as a cool breeze blows. Their four-wheel drives, stacked with metal cages and boats piled with fishing nets, take up room usually reserved for sunbathing holidaymakers. It’s mullet fishing season along Queensland’s southern coast as the fish migrate north to spawn during the colder months of the year. The practice of fishing for mullet with nets off the beach, and the highly prized licences, are passed down through the generations. “I do it because that’s virtually all I know and I’ve done this since I was a little kid,” commercial fisherman Michael Thompson says. Video, photos, >click to read< 10:56

Trawlers concerned about impacts of ocean wind farms as marine park management plan drafted

A group representing fishermen in south-east Australia says it will be forced to stop cooperating with offshore wind projects in Bass Strait if shark fishing is further restricted in marine parks. The South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association, which represents fishermen and sellers in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales, said it was concerned about a ban on the practice. It comes as a new South-east Marine Parks Network Management Plan is drafted. “Our concern is shark fishing with hooks and gill nets and that that will be stopped in some of these marine parks,” trawl fishing association chief executive Simon Boag said. He said fishers could lose 4,000 square kilometres of shark fishing grounds in Gippsland because of wind farms. >click to read< 18:35

Commercial fishers fear gillnet ban on Great Barrier Reef will destroy business, communities

“I’ve got an 18 month-old daughter and I don’t know how I’ll provide for her at the end of the year,” Mr Waldon said. The third-generation commercial fisherman runs a large gillnetting operation near Marlborough off the central Queensland coast and spends long hours at sea catching fish, such as barramundi and threadfin, to provide for his young family. But with a recently announced ban on gillnet fishing, he feared he would not be able to earn a living anymore. “We’ve got all our life savings tied up in fishing licences, quotas, boats and it’s all rendered completely useless … it’s scary,” Mr Waldon said. Video, >click to read< 09:52

Retired tuna boat skipper Terry Aldenhoven reflects on six decades of fishing and why he loves the sea

Port Lincoln’s old salt Terry Aldenhoven will spend his first summer on land after more than six decades heading out to sea for the fishing season. He loved his fishing job so much that he’s only just retired at 78 and could still climb the mast of the tuna boat he skippered. Mr Aldenhoven has clocked up 50 years fishing in the tuna industry and 63 years on the sea in total, but says you’ll still find him out on the water catching fish, although in a much smaller boat.  He’s seen more days on the water than any other tuna skipper in Port Lincoln and was witness to the highs and lows of the industry. Photos, video, >click to read< 11:23

A seismic blasting whistleblower speaks

Hayley had been working on seismic blasting vessels for almost three years when she realised just how destructive the practice was. Her final assessment was simple: “I can’t believe that this is legal.” Hayley, who asked for her real name to not be used, was employed as a marine fauna observer. Her job was to look for marine mammals such as the southern right whale, which could be harmed by the blasts used to search the ocean floor for oil and gas. Blasting would be paused only when specific whales were sighted. The negative impacts of the blasting are hard to see because they happen below the surface. >click to read< 10:16

Port Stephens Maritime Community Rallies Around Milanja Family

The maritime and greater community Port Stephens have rallied around the Milanja family as their much-loved fishing trawler and livelihood, the Kendon B, had to be recovered from D’Albora Marina last Tuesday. The vessel sank on its mooring on Friday 19 May which came as a double blow to the Milanja’s as Miro, owner and operator of the Kendon B, has recently been discharged from hospital battling serious health issues. Mark Milanja, eldest son of Miro, has been on hand with his brothers Mitch and Matt assisting local authorities and salvage teams around the clock since the trawler first sank. >click to read< 07:52

Greek immigrant and pioneering fisherman Kon Paleologoudias’s legacy in Venus Bay and Port Kenny

When Konstantinos Paleologoudias left Greece as a fresh-faced 18-year-old fitter and turner in the 1950s he began an adventure that would help shape two small towns 14,000 kilometres away on South Australia’s west coast. Konstantinos, also known as Kon Paul, established a fish processing factory at Port Kenny and while the size of the prawn boat fleet in Venus Bay has fluctuated, the three remaining licensed boats are all owned by the Paleologoudias family. More than 70 years since Kon emigrated, his feats have been recognised in Venus Bay, with the naming of a large sculpture of a pelican, Pauly. Photos, >click to read< 07:45

Fishing industry warns snap lockout of key Northern Territory waters could affect restaurant plates around Australia

The fishing industry says restaurants and fish markets around Australia are scrambling to secure barramundi, mud crabs and threadfin salmon after a snap decision closed key Northern Territory waters. Commercial fishers have been banned from the East Alligator River and Mini Mini-Murgenella Creek estuaries. The lockout has followed a failed attempt by the NT Government to negotiate commercial fishing access with the Northern Land Council, which represents traditional owners. Barramundi fishers and crabbers had been preparing for their season in the rich coastal waters off Arnhem Land, east of Kakadu National Park. >click to read< 10:23

‘Everybody deserves to come home safely’: Commercial seafood industry launches national safety program, Sea Safe

“Working at sea and around water is inherently high risk. Most risks can be managed through education and the use of safe practices. FRDC has invested in fishing and aquaculture safety programs and projects throughout Australia, over many years including FRDC-funded programs such as Sea Safe and FishSafe that have been instrumental in shaping the new Sea Safe program,” Dr Hone said. “FRDC is proud to extend our commitment to safety through our investment in Sea Safe. We want all people who work and play in, on or near the water, to be safe and go home to their families, so having a national Sea Safe program will help build a safer culture for all our stakeholders.”

Concerns over fishing industry risk from proposed offshore wind farm in South East SA

Residents in a small South Australian coastal town are concerned a proposed offshore wind farm could impact on the local fishing industry. Off its coast, the Southern Ocean has some of the most productive southern rock lobster waters in the country. Offshore wind developer Blue Float Energy has announced plans to build a 77-turbine wind farm between 8 kilometres and 20km out to sea, which the company says would generate 1.1 gigawatts of clean energy. Fisher and farmer Brodi Milstead said he was not only worried about his industry. “No matter what their studies say, we know it’s going to affect our businesses, our environment, our whales, everything that lives there,” he said. >click to read< 16:02

Calls to salvage Port Lincoln’s historic fishing vessel, the Almonta, as it rots on seabed

When a historic Port Lincoln wooden fishing boat sank on its moorings at Snooks Landing more than a year ago, its owner Mario Antolini cried. He watched from the shore 100 metres away, unable to help as 60 years of stories and memories sank to the seabed. Cars of people soon arrived and in his grief Mario saw they too were crying. The Almonta was an early wooden vessel in the local salmon and bluefin tuna fleets of the 1960s. It was a favourite for those who worked on its rich timber deck and netted huge catches of fish from the rolling southern ocean. Photos, video, >click to read< 10:27

Fears capsized trawler is spilling pollutants into Burnett River

A sunken trawler that has leaked pollutants in Bundaberg’s main river could pose a danger to people’s safety and the environment, a commercial fisherman and environmentalist says. The capsized boat was first noticed in the Burnett River last week and the boat owner has been given until December 9 to move it. Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) said it had deployed a floating boom around the trawler to prevent pollutants entering the waterway. It said it was inspecting the vessel twice a day and adjusting the boom to ensure it was effective. >click to read< 08:40

Australian Seafood industry on ice

A great Australian tradition is seafood at Christmas time. We have some of the best fresh seafood in the world. The need for the reminder is becoming more important. Over the past few decades Australia has closed massive amounts of oceans and rivers reducing the amount of seafood available to all Australians. The result of all these fishing bans has not been to save the environment, we have instead just imported seafood from other countries with poorer environmental practices. We instead import most of our seafood from China, Thailand and Vietnam who all extract fish from their oceans much more intensively than we do. The numbers are shocking. >click to read< 08:04

Small Modular Reaction: Europe’s Wind & Solar Disaster Paves Way For New Nuclear Age

Europe’s energy disaster proves, beyond doubt, that wind and solar are an abject failure, leaving the way clear for nuclear power and any other power generation source that can dish it up, on demand. With numerous operators seeking or obtaining licences to build Small Modular Reactors, and numerous countries signing up to have them, SMRs are here to stay. Nuclear power is safe, affordable, reliable and the perfect antidote to arguments about human-generated carbon dioxide gas posing a threat to life on Earth – because it doesn’t generate any, while generating power on demand, irrespective of the weather, unlike inherently unreliable wind and solar. >click to read< 11:58

Great Sandy Marine Park fisheries could shut down and seafood prices increase

Commercial fishing is the only job Brett Fuchs has ever known, but the Hervey Bay fisher says plans to increase no-fish zones in the Great Sandy Marine Park will be enough to sink his business, as retailers predict seafood lovers will wear the cost of limited supplies. The Queensland government has proposed to expand the green zone by almost 9 per cent in the 6,000-square-kilometre marine park that stretches from Baffle Creek to Double Island Point. Commercial fishers would be forced to remove large gill nets and ring nets from the water. “There’s nothing left for us,” Mr Fuchs said.  >click to read< 11:12

Signs China will discuss lifting trade ban, but Australian lobster fishers say diversification crucial

Trade Minister Don Farrell is yet to meet his Chinese counterpart but says ambassador Xiao Qian has indicated his government is “prepared to have these discussions”. “My job now is to convince China to change its view,” Mr Farrell said. Gordon Lewis owns two fishing boats in Port Macdonnell, South Australia, one of the country’s largest rock lobster fisheries. He said after fishing for the first few days of the season, he pulled his boats out for more than two weeks because volatile prices had made it unaffordable. “Everyone is struggling,” he said. With China no longer taking the majority of the catch, oversupply in the domestic market led to a price drop. >click to read< 09:47

Plans to increase no-fish zones in Great Sandy Marine Park worry Queensland seafood industry

It is considered a win for conservationists and recreational fishers, but seafood lovers and commercial fisheries will pay the price for proposed changes to one of Queensland’s greatest marine parks, an industry body says. The state government has released the draft for the new Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan, which would see green zones increase from 3.9 per cent to 12.8 per cent. But the Queensland Seafood Industry Association said the expansion of no-fish zones had little regard for local fishers and felt the government had ignored their concerns. “The plan will have a massive impact on the supply of fresh fish … 95 per cent of the net fisheries will be shut down in the Great Sandy Marine Park,” CEO Eric Perez said in a statement. >click to read< 13:07

Spanish mackerel catch quota reduction ‘catastrophic’ for north Queensland fishers, industry says

New quotas that will dramatically reduce the number of Spanish mackerel commercial fishers can catch will “devastate” the industry, according to north Queensland fishers. The Queensland government has unveiled a suite of changes that slash the total catch quota for the state from 570 tonnes to 165 tonnes for commercial fishers. Chloe Bauer’s family business, Bowen Fisherman Seafood Company, has been supplying Spanish mackerel to restaurants up and down the Queensland coast for 40 years. She said the new quotas would “devastate” the industry. >click to read< 11:22

Rock lobster back on the menu

New Zealand’s rock lobster industry is catching up on a slow year thanks to the end of a Chinese lockdown and the conclusion of an unlucky spiritual festival. Shanghai is one of New Zealand’s biggest lobster importers, but the city was locked down from March to June. Fiordland Lobsters sales and marketing general manager Andrew Harvey said it had taken time for the industry to get back up to speed. That was combined with Ghost Month, a time dedicated to the spirits of the dead which spanned from late July to August. Australia banned exports of lobster to China in 2020, which had also increased the New Zealand share of the market and helped it through some of the slow patches. >click to read< 08:47

Catch Shares Enable Wealthy Landlords to Gobble Up Local Fisheries

A recent investigative report has reignited public discussion over catch shares, a controversial approach to fisheries management that privatizes the rights to fish. The investigation exposed how Blue Harvest Fisheries, owned by a billionaire Dutch family, became the largest holder of commercial fishing rights in New England, benefiting from lax antitrust regulations and pilfering profits from the local fishermen who work under them. As a commercial fisherman in Mississippi, I know these dynamics go well beyond New England. Here in the Gulf of Mexico, private equity firms and other large investors have come in and gobbled up the rights to fish, driving up the cost of fishing access and making it prohibitively expensive for fishermen like me to harvest fish in our own backyards. >click to read< 07:55

Sardine fisherman hopes changing consumer attitudes will get his catch on dinner plates

David Gray wants his fish on dinner plates. The Esperance commercial angler has spent years catching and selling sardines nationwide for bait. But a growing interest in locally sourced seafood has created new opportunities. He now has the human consumption market in his sights. The majority of Australia’s edible seafood is imported, predominantly from Asia. But Phil Clark, co-owner of WA company Fins Seafood, said supply headaches stemming from the pandemic had “put the magnifying glass” on where the country sourced its fish. >click to read< 11:13

Tassal recommends shareholders accept $1.1 billion takeover bid from Canadian seafood giant Cooke

The last remaining Australian-owned major salmon producer looks set to go to foreign hands, after Canadian aquaculture company Cooke upped its offer for Tassal. Tassal told the Australian Securities Exchange that it has recommended shareholders accept Cooke’s latest $5.23 per share bid, which values the company at $1.1 billion. Cooke has attempted to purchase Tassal for months, lodging three unsuccessful takeover bids, with the latest in June valued at $4.85 per share. The potential acquisition of Tassal follows foreign takeovers of Australia’s other two major salmon companies. New Zealand seafood giant Sealord purchased Petuna in 2020, while Brazilian-owned JBS completed its takeover of Huon Aquaculture last year. >click to read< 10:09