Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Member for Braddon

The Tasmanian Greens today expressed concerns that the Australian farmed tuna industry was eyeing off the super trawler FV Margiris as a source of low-cost fish meal.

Greens Member for Braddon Paul O’Halloran said that despite numerous reassurances, it was clear that SeaFish Tasmania was leaving the door open to using the Margiris to harvest fish for aquaculture.

“From the start we were told that this ship would be used to catch fish for human consumption, and not for turning into feed stock for the aquaculture industry,” Mr O’Halloran.

“The fact that the tuna farming industry is now eyeing off the Margiris as a source of fish meal raises serious questions about the real reasons that this ship is coming Australian waters.”

“You can be guaranteed that if the market for these fish in Africa and Asia falls through, these mackerel and red bait will continue to be caught in huge numbers and sent to a fish food plant.”

“Catching wild fish in order to feed fish in captivity is an extremely inefficient means of producing food for human consumption because of the extremely poor feed conversion ratio”

“Scientific reports indicate that for every 20 kilograms of fish consumed by a tuna in captivity, you get about one kilogram of tuna.” [1]

“The Greens remain the only party prepared to stand up to defend our environment from this ocean going marauder, which is threatening to take away the simple joy of catching and eating wild fish,” Mr O’Halloran said.

[1] Ottolenghi, F.  2008. Capture-based aquaculture of bluefin tuna. In A. Lovatelli and P.F. Holthus (eds). Capture-based aquaculture. Global overview.  FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 508. Rome, FAO. pp. 169–182.

August 8, 2012