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Dolphin death leads to trawler ban in Australian fishery

Just over a month after a 95-metre factory fishing trawler, the Geelong Star, had to return to port following two incidents of dolphins and seals dying in its fishing nets, a ninth dolphin has died, leading to a complete ban on all factory trawling in the area known as zone 6, off New South Wales and Victoria, until December.

The controversial vessel was forced to cease fishing after four dolphins and two seals were killed on an initial trip. After stricter controls were placed on its activities, it returned to sea only for four more dolphins to subsquently die. Further restrictions were then put in place in an attempt to stop any more deaths.

Both environmentalists and local recreational fishermen had called for the boat to have its license revoke after the original incidents, while the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, described the deaths as “unacceptable and outrageous”.

While fishing in this particular zone is now banned, trawlers will be able to continue to fish in other waters around the country despite opposition from recreational fishermen and conservationists.