Factory fishing trawlers are banned from working in an expanse of ocean off the NSW/Victoria coast after a ship caught and killed another dolphin in its net.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has closed “zone six” of a small fishery zone following a declaration by the 95-metre vessel, Geelong Star, that its dolphin death toll has reached nine since it began operating in mid-April.
“The closure direction will be in force until midnight on December 16,” AFMA said in a statement posted on its website.
As part of their licensing conditions, all mid-water trawlers are required to report the deaths of any protected species within 24 hours and the latest occurred on Thursday.
However, trawling can continue in federally managed waters in the south of the continent, including offshore from West Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, western Victoria and northern NSW.
Recreational fishers and conservationists continue to call on the federal government to implement a permanent ban on all factory trawlers that have the ability to process and freeze fish on board.
Canberra currently bans “super trawlers” which it defines as vessels of more than 130 metres.
News of another dolphin death is devastating, the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Tooni Mahto said.
“How many of these protected species is the Geelong Star going to be allowed to kill before it is stopped from fishing?”
Australian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said that despite previous admissions of dolphin and seal deaths the Geelong Star has been allowed to continue operating.
“This is an absolute failure by the regulator and by the government,” he said.