For zero by­catch

Sunday News - - NEWS -

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.

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