Seafish Tasmania, the operator of 142-foot long supertrawler Abel Tasman, offered on Thursday to reduce its freezing capacity in a bid lift the ban on the fishing vessel imposed by the federal government.
Small fishermen folk have denounced the release by the Federal Government of the zone map and details of the South Australia Marine Park bill, which specifies areas off-limits to fishing, claiming their livelihood and lives are at stake.
The company said it will limit its catch during a six-week period to 2,000 tonnes within a 100-nautical mile area. Seafish also said it would use satellite technology to track Abel Tasman and fund an egg survey for jack mackerel.
Besides offering to use less than half of the vessel's freezing capacity, Seafish Tasmania also promised to move Abel Tasman from fishing areas upon reaching a certain tonnage. It proposed a two-week no fishing activity for the areas once the limit is reached.
Environment Minister Tony Burke banned the vessel, which is stuck in Port Lincoln, after the federal government extended Mr Burke's powers which gave Mr Burke authority to ban the trawler for two years while scientific studies address concerns raised by the fishing community.
The ban was made even if Seafish Tasmania's quota of 18,000 tonnes of jack mackerel and other small pelagic fish, which is estimated to be only 5 per cent of total stock, was approved by the fisheries regulator and backed as sustainable by fish scientists.
Seafish insisted Mr Burke should not make Nov 20 the due date of the ban official.
"The Abel Tasman operating under Minister Burke's own strict environmental conditions will have no greater impact than a smaller vessel and is likely to have a lesser impact because of its fishery-wide operations," Nine News quoted Seafish Tasmania Director Gerry Geen's statement.
Mr Geen said that Mr Burke, instead of issuing a final declaration, must allow a comprehensive scientific assessment of Abel Tasman's environmental impact while the vessel is allowed to engage in a restricted set of fishing activities over an initial 12-month period.
However, environmental and recreational fishing groups opposed the Seafish Tasmania offer which they labeled as a gross abuse of public trust if the supertrawler would be allowed to go fishing.
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