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How Australia Impounded the World’s Second-Largest Fishing Trawler

When Dutch super-trawler The Margiris was given the go-ahead to catch millions of dollars worth of fish in Australian waters, her owners didn’t realise they were sailing straight into a bureaucratic nightmare.

This report charts the extraordinary course of events that culminated in the world’s second largest trawler being left stranded and impotent thousands of miles from her native Holland. The Margiris’ owners were assured by Australia that they had permission to fish its seas. “Literally what they said was, we will back you up no matter what happens, if you follow the rules. And we said we can accept that of course”. But what the ship’s owners hadn’t counted on was a perfect storm of political protest that brought environmental groups and recreational fishers together in a campaign that even threatened to destabilise the Australian government. In a bold move, the government sided with the people and anchored the super trawler for good. “We’ve got no idea what the rules are now!” exclaims ship owner, Gerry Geen. So was this democracy in action, or political incompetence?

Post Series: Australia
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