THE CONTROVERSIAL trawler Geelong Star has returned to Corio Bay after its latest dolphin killing has infuriated animal lovers and environmentalists.
The 95-metre ship suspended fishing of its own volition in May after it killed eight dolphins on its first two outing in Australian waters.
The boat returned to fishing off Tasmania earlier this month after assuming additional protective measures but hit a barrage of anger with the latest dolphin fatality last Thursday in waters off New South Wales.
The boat had been equipped with a new mesh grid to help prevent further seal and dolphin deaths but the latest death occurred when a dolphin tried to enter the trawl by way of a marine mammal excluder mechanism on top of the trawl net.
Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association (SPFIA) chairman Grahame Turk told the ABC the Geelong Star was required to keep the marine mammal excluder device as a condition of its vessel management plan.
“The operators believe this device is redundant now the barrier net has proved to be effective, and, represents a hazard for marine mammals,” Mr Turk said.
The Geelong Star offloads hundreds of tonnes of its frozen catch at Geelong. It is presently docked at Corio Quay, North Shore.