Giddings backs new Seafish plan

PREMIER Lara Giddings has backed Seafish Tasmania's bid to use a smaller vessel to catch its quota of baitfish in Australian waters. 

Seafish spent millions of dollars bringing a super trawler with freezer storage to Australia before the federal government rushed through legislation to ban it. 

On Monday, Environment Minister Tony Burke replaced the interim ban with a two-year prohibition on the use of large mid-water freezer vessels. 

Yesterday Ms Giddings said the ban was a ``devastating blow'' for the company and praised its efforts to try and keep jobs in Tasmania. 

She hoped the company would be able to resolve the issue and find a viable way of catching its quota. 

``It may well be through a different vessel but ultimately we do want to see jobs in Tasmania,'' Ms Giddings said. 

``What I hope is that Seafish themselves are able to get out there and fish in other vessels and access the quota they legally have a right to access.'' 

She had not met Seafish management saying it had ``nothing to do with us''. 

The ban imposed by the federal government does not specify the size of vessels covered.

Seafish is considering using a smaller factory freezer trawler of at least 90 metres instead to catch its quota of 18,000 jack mackerel and redbait. 

Seafish director Gerry Geen said he was frustrated with the government's refusal to provide advice on whether that would be allowed.

``We wrote to the ministers Burke and (Fisheries Minister) Joe Ludwig directly, seeking their assistance and direction as to alternative solutions. But we heard nothing back,'' Mr Geen said. 

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