When Dutch super trawler FV Margiris was given the all clear to catch millions of dollars worth of fish in Australian waters, her owners didn’t realise they were sailing straight into bureaucratic nightmare.
It’s the largest fishing vessel that would ever work in Australian fisheries, said to have been part of destroying West African fisheries, and feared to have come to destroy Australian fisheries.
This documentary 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 owners of The Margiris 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 our 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 by the Australian the government, they 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?