A RALLY against the super trawler FV Margiris's imminent arrival in Australia has resulted in thousands of rec fishers protesting across Tasmania over the weekend.
As reported by ABC News, hundreds of cars towing boats packed into grounds near Elwick racecourse in Hobart's north. A convoy of vehicles and boats sporting signs reading "Stop the Margiris" then travelled along the Brooker Highway and across the Tasman bridge causing minor tarffic congestion.
Those attending the rally were protesting against Seafish Tasmania's plans to bring the 142-metre trawler to Australia and base it at Devonport. The FV Margiris plans to fish an 18,000 tonne quota of jack mackerel and red bait in Commonwealth waters, raising concerns that fish stocks will be seriously depleted as a result.
Launceston rally spokesman Mike Stevens said more than 150 boats took part in the northern rally, the ABC reports.
"If this doesn't spend a message to politicians that there's a huge concern by recreational fishermen in Tasmania, I don't know what will," Stevens said.
"All these boats that are here today are recreational fishers and they're concerned about what this will do to Tasmania's recreational fishery and the whole food chain."
More than 100 boats and 300 people turned out to the rally being held between Devonport and Burnie.
Organiser Jason Ivory says the interest shown across the state proves it is not just an issue for the north-west community, where the Margiris will be based.
In a statement, Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen says the company respects the rights of individuals and groups to conduct peaceful and legal protest.
Geen says the company is regularly consulting with recreational and game fishers regarding their concerns about local fish stock depletion.
See an ABC news report on the rally here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-21/boat-convoys-in-protest-against-super-trawler/4145810