No return on cards for super trawler

SEAFISH Tasmania has rejected suggestions that its controversial super trawler plan is back, but questions the commitment of governments to job creation.

Media reports have suggested that the  Abbott federal government may give the  plan a more sympathetic hearing than its predecessor.

In 2012, following a public outcry, the then Labor federal government announced a   law to ban the 143-metre Abel Tasman from fishing in Australian waters under a plan proposed by Seafish Tasmania.

The ship was due to come to Australia under a fishing harvest strategy that took seven years to develop. The plan allowed for vessels such as the Abel Tasman.

Yesterday  Seafish Tasmania quality control officer Libby Geen, wife of Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen, said the ship had been sold and was   operating off Chile.

A case in the Federal Court launched by the company against the ban has yet to be finalised.

But she said the original plan to bring a vessel such as the Abel Tasman to Australia was legal.

She said a fishing harvest strategy that took seven years to develop allowed for vessels such as the Abel Tasman, and everyone knew that because of extensive consultation.

Ms Geen lamented the loss of jobs caused by the Abel Tasman ban, and questioned the  commitment of both the state and federal governments to job creation.

``The Abel Tasman has been sold and you cannot resurrect it when it has been sold,'' she said.

``We had 50 unemployed people lined up for jobs on that boat.

``Because we are a Tasmanian company, we thought it would be logical to base it in Tasmania, but Tasmania was not loyal to us.

``We were prepared to pay extra to have it based in Tasmania but Tasmanians are not interested in jobs, it seems.''

She said the original plan had been  to base the vessel in Devonport, but it was registered in Brisbane and could have been based anywhere in Australia. Ms Geen said Devonport had been chosen as the home port out of a sense of loyalty to the state by the Triabunna-based business.


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