Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Expert panel appointed to assess environmental impacts of the super trawler

Media release
6 February 2013

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, today announced that Mary Lack will chair the expert panel to assess the environmental impacts of the super trawler.

Ms Lack who is the director of fisheries management consulting company Shellack, has more than 25 years experience in Australian and international fisheries management and governance.

The other members of the four member panel include Professor Peter Harrison who has more than 30 years experience in marine science research, Associate Professor Simon Goldsworthy has been undertaking research in marine biology for more than 20 years and Dr Cathy Bulman who is a senior fisheries biologist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

The four member panel will carry out an extensive assessment of the environmental impacts of large mid-water trawl freezer vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery under national environment law.

"Last year the Gillard Government made changes to national environment law which allow me to stop new types of commercial fishing activities in Commonwealth waters when there is uncertainty about their environmental impacts,'' Mr Burke said.

"The expert panel will assess the declared commercial fishing activity to determine if the proposed fishing activity would adversely impact the Australian environment.

"I have chosen the members of the panel based on their strong experience and expertise across a range of scientific and fisheries management disciplines. "The terms of reference for the new expert panel have been developed in consultation with the Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig."

The report from the expert panel must be presented to the Minister by 22 October 2014, at which time a decision will be made as to the future of this kind of fishing activity.

The full terms of reference for the panel are available at