Statement 2 May 2015
AFMA has been advised of four further dolphin mortalities from fishing by the Geelong Star, the vessel nominated by Seafish Tasmania Ltd to fish in the Small Pelagic Fishery. The mortalities occurred in one shot during the vessel’s second trip. AFMA has also been advised of two fur seal mortalities during the vessel’s second trip.
Consistent with the requirements of all vessels fishing in Commonwealth waters, the Geelong Star must report any interaction with protected species, including marine mammals like dolphins, fur seals or Australian sea lions.
AFMA takes any marine mammal mortalities seriously. We are disappointed that these additional dolphin and seal mortalities have occurred.
AFMA understands the Geelong Star is voluntarily returning to port because of the dolphin mortalities for a full review of its marine mammal exclusion equipment. AFMA will participate in the review to determine how to minimise further marine mammal interactions. The vessel will also be inspected by AFMA officers when it arrives in port to ensure all catch documentation is in order.