For zero bycatch
Extending Marine Protected Areas – parts of the ocean where fishing is restricted – would also help.
Sage said law changes were needed so reserves could extend to New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone – up to 370 kilometres out from the coast – GOVERNMENT-FUNDED research calling for an overhaul of New Zealand’s commercial fishing has been labelled ‘‘scaremongering’’ by the Ma¯ori Fisheries Trust.
Voices from the Sea, released by the Environmental Defence Society, paints a bleak picture of New Zealand’s marine environment and criticises the way it is managed by the Government.
The book’s author, environmental law and policy expert Raewyn Peart, pictured left, wants a fully independent, statutory inquiry and says fish stocks have collapsed or are on the brink of collapse.
She warns the situation would worsen unless a more integrated approach was adopted and the 30-year-old Quota Management System was reformed. rather than the current Territorial Sea boundary of 22km.
MPI says more seabirds breed in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world and it has a longterm objective of making New Zealand fisheries globally recognised as seabird-friendly.
However, environmental law
In 2015 Peart received $60,000 funding from the Department of Conservation (DoC) towards her research but that has outraged Te Ohu Kaimoana (Ma¯ori Fisheries Trust), which manages fishing assets on behalf of Ma¯ori.
Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Dion Tuuta said the book was ‘‘scaremongering’’ and lacked credibility, adding that Te Ohu Kaimoana supported reductions in commercial catch to allow fish species to recover and had never opposed action to ensure fisheries were managed at sustainable levels.
Peart said she was disappointed by the trust’s criticisms.
‘‘Unless we take action their investment and their asset will be undermined,’’ she said. ‘‘We need to work together on this.’’ and policy expert Raewyn Peart said New Zealand was well behind international best practice in this area. The full extent of bycatch in New Zealand waters was largely unknown due to a lack of observer monitoring on inshore fishing vessels.
She renewed calls for cameras to be compulsory on all commercial fishing vessels.
Late last year Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash deferred the roll-out of digital monitoring of commercial fishing.
Forest and Bird spokesman Geoff Keey said it suspected the commercial fishing sector was under-reporting bycatch.
When video monitoring was made compulsory in Australia, reported bycatch increased sevenfold, he said.
‘‘Putting cameras on boats will transform our fishing industry because at the moment a lot of it is out of sight out of mind.’’ Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said the industry needed to do better.
‘‘The ultimate aim is to have zero catch,’’ he said.
‘‘We do have some impact on the marine environment and we’re doing our utmost to address that.’’
Seafood New Zealand is touring 14 ports making sure every skipper and crew member knows about a code of conduct it launched last year centred around accountability and sustainability.
Te Ohu Kaimoana (Ma¯ori Fisheries Trust) chief executive Dion Tuuta said its fishing partners were trialling new net technology to reduce bycatch.
The trust, and Seafood New Zealand, supported the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust to promote the widespread use of responsible fishing practices, he said.