Stop The Supertrawler


A Shorten Labor Government will permanently ban super trawlers – factory freezer vessels – from Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery. Current legislation in Australia allows factory freezer vessels under 130 metres in length to operate in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

Labor is the party that first stopped the super trawler and we have tried a number of times to improve the current law. Each time we have been blocked by the Liberals and Nationals.

Labor’s commitment will guarantee Australia’s waters are adequately protected from risks associated with the use of large-capacity factory freezer trawlers in this fishery, including the impact of localised depletion and bycatch.

However, it will have no impact upon existing commercial operators that are sustainably fishing our waters. This is about getting the balance right.

Boats with factory freezing capabilities as small as 45 metres are now considered super trawlers in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Labor is committed to protecting Australian waters from the risks of overfishing and from the use of large-capacity factory freezer trawlers.

Labor’s ban will give industry certainty and it will also mean that recreational fishers no longer need to worry about baitfish being targeted for days – or even weeks – by super trawlers that can stay out at sea for long periods.

In addition to a permanent ban on super trawlers, any unused fishing quota in the Small Pelagic Fishery will be entrusted to the Australian community and set aside in a recreational fishing trust. This will mean that more baitfish stay in the water to feed larger species such as tuna.