NZ: Fishing practices "everyone's responsibility" – Fishupdate.com

NZ: Fishing practices “everyone’s responsibility” Published:  05 February, 2008

Jim Anderton

New Zealand Fisheries Minister, Jim Anderton has reminded the fishing industry that it, as well as the government, should be taking responsibility for monitoring the conduct of foreign charter vessels.

“The debate following the accidental and unfortunate death of 22 common dolphins in the jack mackerel trawl fishery in December, has focused on the use of foreign charter fishing vessels,” Jim Anderton said.

“I’d like to remind the fishing industry that these foreign charter vessels were charted by New Zealand companies for the benefit of those New Zealand companies, so were legitimately fishing in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Those who contract them bear just as much responsibility as any government agency in ensuring appropriate practices.”

Following news of the dolphin deaths, both the NZ Federation of commercial Fishermen and New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone have put out media statements calling for “a much tougher approach on all governance issues surrounding foreign charters”.

“Under the Quota Management System, New Zealand fishing companies and quota owners are free to choose how they catch their fish. Some companies choose to charter foreign vessels,” Mr Anderton continued.

“Since we allow these vessels to fish in our EEZ, we must be sure that they understand and comply with all our fishing regulations. And that is everybody’s responsibility. But Pita Paraone is being simplistic when he says that the dolphin deaths ‘could have been prevented if foreign fishing boats faced tougher regulations and penalties in New Zealand waters’. Dolphins are attracted to jack mackerel fisheries and they are sometimes caught. At least two of the vessels involved in the recent incident stopped fishing as soon as they realised that dolphins had got caught up in the their nets.

“I have discussed the issue of foreign charter vessels with many within the industry, I understand that the commercial fishing industry is not of one mind over their use, but in fact the vast majority of deepwater and middle depth fisheries quota owners support their use.

“As I have said before, if the industry collectively agrees that a debate over the use of foreign charter vessels is worth having,” he concluded, “then I am happy to have it.”

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