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Seafood industry calls for genuine dialogue around Kermadecs

Monday 11 April 2016

The Kermadecs Ocean Sanctuary proposal overrides seafood industry rights embedded in the Quota Management System and in the rights of Maori embedded in the Treaty of Waitangi and the Maori Fisheries Settlement Act. Both parties were informed of the proposal only hours before the announcement.

“We fully support Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM) in its bid to address the question of their rights in relation to this proposal.

“We would welcome the opportunity for genuine dialogue to find solutions for the benefit all New Zealanders. We urge the Crown to engage with Maori and with the seafood industry to enable all parties to come out with an agreed enduring outcome.”

“The seafood industry, of which Maori is a significant participant, has proved its commitment to conservation, particularly around the Kermadecs. In April 2007, in response to a seafood industry and TOKM proposal, the Government closed 17 areas within New Zealand's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to bottom trawling. These Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs) comprise over 1.2m square kilometres of seabed - an area equal to about 30% of the EEZ - more than four times New Zealand itself.

“Just over half of the total area closed by BPAs is around the Kermadecs. This is in addition to the Kermadec Marine Reserve which at 7,553 km2 is the largest in New Zealand and represents 43% of the total area under New Zealand’s Marine Reserves. We would welcome discussion on what additional protection might be required and the opportunity to work with Government to introduce any new measures agreed to within a robust consultation framework.

“Industry has demonstrated its commitment to marine conservation, but in this instance, we take issue with the poor process taken and ask Government to redress this,” says George Clement.

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