The large fishing trawler that pulled into Ulladulla Harbour this week is here to supply fresh fish to Sydney and Melbourne fish markets.
The 40-metre vessel, the Saints Antonio and Giuseppe, will begin fishing off the South Coast including off Narooma and Bermagui this month, but will not permanently be based out of Ulladulla.
An Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) spokesperson said the boat would “commence fishing from early October”.
The boat’s owner, known only as Tony, said the boat would supply fish to Australian markets only.
“We are fishing to a science-based quota set by AFMA that we will not go anywhere close to catching,” he told the Milton Ulladulla Times on October 5.
“Global warming is the only thing that would drive fish stocks to extinction on the South Coast.
“We are an Australian owned business that owns five fishing vessels, supplying fresh fish to Melbourne and Sydney fish markets.
“I wont affect fish stocks.”
Tony said he was “against the Geelong Star”.
He said the boat was not a super trawler and would not be based out of Ulladulla full time. It may go to Eden, Sydney and Tasmania, Tony said.
The AFMA spokesperson said catch limits for target species were set in line with the Small Pelagic Fishery harvest strategy, a set of “strict guidelines”.
“AFMA’s conservative, science-based catch limits in Commonwealth fisheries help ensure that Australians can continue to enjoy the full range of benefits from our oceans, be it fresh Australian seafood, or from throwing a line in on the weekend,” they said.
“The fishery is managed through a total allowable catch and quota system, which restricts the catch of each target species to sustainable levels, irrespective of the number or size of boats that fish.”
The Milton Ulladulla Times understands the Saints Antonio and Giuseppe trawler will be targeting mackerel.
The AFMA spokesperson said Small Pelagic Fishery mid-water trawler operators must have a vessel management plan, which is approved by AFMA.
“The plan outlines monitoring and reporting requirements as well as bycatch mitigation devices and procedures that apply to that vessel,” they said.
The Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association has been contacted for comment.