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Seafood industry supports sustainable fisheries

Tuesday 12 January 2016

The seafood sector supports effective marine conservation, its Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said today.

He was commenting on today’s release of a consultation document on a new Marine Protected Areas Act to replace the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that includes proposals for recreational fishing parks in the inner Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

The proposals would cut commercial fishing in the proposed areas.

“While we note the Minister has said there would be compensation for affected quota holders, we need to ensure that any compensation for commercial operators is fair and equitable,” Tim Pankhurst says.

Mr Pankhurst says that effective recreational management is also needed.

“If the aim is to provide greater access to the snapper and blue cod fisheries, there is no rationale for excluding other commercial species like mullet and flat fish (flounder and sole).

Mr Pankhurst says the purpose of the proposal needs to be clear.

“If it is to control who takes what from where and at what time, it is time to address accurate reporting on the size of the recreational catch. That must include charter operators who run fishing businesses and catch considerable amounts, yet operate largely unsupervised.

“The Government refers to the recreational sector taking ‘more responsibility for sustainability’. That needs to be defined and developed.

“We all want a shared sustainable fishery but the role of the commercial sector also has to be protected, as do customary rights.

“Not everyone has a boat, or goes fishing. Seafood lovers and seafood business, from top restaurants to fish ’n’ chip shops, want security of supply and that comes from the commercial sector, which also provides significant employment and domestic and export earnings,” he says.

The seafood industry looks forward to engaging in the proposal’s consultation process.

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