Antarctic toothfish plunderer met with protests in Hobart.
This morning, a group of activists climbed onto the mooring line of the Antarctic toothfish plunderer, Antarctic Discovery and hung a banner on the vessel revealing its true nature as an Antarctic destroyer, not an Antarctic discoverer.
19-year-old Billie Raffety from the Huon Valley suspended herself from the vessel’s mooring line to protest the presence of the vessel in the supposed Antarctic gateway city of Hobart. Dock workers and vessel crew untied the line and dropped Billie Raffety into the water where she was picked up by the other activists involved in the protest.
The vessel, owned by Hobart-based Australian Longline, has just returned from smashing the sub-Antarctic toothfish populations off Australia’s World Heritage-listed Macquarie, Heard and McDonald Islands.
“This vessel, despite efforts to appear sustainable, is targeting a species that is sold as a ‘luxury’ product. Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish is not a sustainable fishery providing food security to the globe. Rather, they are a status meal in five-star hotels and fancy restaurants, decimating a species we know little about, ”said Bob Brown Foundation Antarctic Campaigner Alistair Allan.
“The toothfish industry touts their Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic operations as one of the world’s most regulated fisheries, but with most of the Earth’s fisheries in rapid decline or near collapse, we cannot trust that the toothfish is not destined for the same fate. This fish is red listed by NGOs due to its position as an apex predator and overfishing in the 80s and 90s. It is a fish we should not be pillaging. ”
“The Antarctic Discovery, or rather, the Antarctic Destroyer, is responsible for the deep sea devastation and disturbance of the Southern Ocean. Australian Longline vessels can set as many as 60,000 hooks on tens of kilometers of lines. These skewers rake the delicate Southern Ocean ecosystem, catching anything in their path. Using 60,000 hooks in one of the world’s last wild places is obscene, ”said Billie Raffety.
“Hobart claims to be an Antarctic custodian but how can this be when we allow such destructive vessels in our port? In a very short amount of time, industrial whaling and sealing took both species to the brink of extinction in the Antarctic. We cannot allow the same to happen to toothfish. The public has a right to know that Hobart is being used as a base for expanding the looting of the Antarctic, ”said Alistair Allan.
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