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Seafood industry welcomes RFMO meeting

13th February 2006

NZ Seafood industry welcomes inaugural Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO) development meeting in Wellington

The New Zealand seafood industry welcomes the RFMO development meeting said Owen Symmans, Chief Executive of the NZ Seafood Industry Council, today.

Delegates are in Wellington this week to participate in the 'challenging and ambitious' proposal put forward for a high seas management regime.

"We support the development of an RFMO that can apply the best of international cooperation and management practices to the resources in our region of the world. The primary focus of the RFMO needs to be about long-term sustainable management to enable utilization of the fisheries resources to take place. The New Zealand industry is a responsible one, with a reputation and evidence of a world-leading management system, and we look forward to participating in this process and providing expertise for the regime," said Mr Symmans.

The New Zealand industry has fished in the high seas near to New Zealand for over fifteen years for deepwater species and New Zealand fishermen have explored fishing opportunities across the area proposed. High seas fisheries in the Tasman and near the Pacific are important to a number of smaller deepwater operators and fishing in the high seas has been a regular part of their fishing plans for a number of years, Mr Symmans said.

In total around 5% of deepwater catches by New Zealand vessels annually are sourced from the high seas fishing area, and it is also a significantly productive fishing area for other nations, many of whom have an historical and active interest in the high seas. However, the same disciplines do not apply to other fishing nations as a general rule, and fisheries are uncontrolled.

"This is a matter of concern to the New Zealand industry which is committed to the long-term sustainable use of the resources. Management can only be achieved through cooperation between all countries with fishing interests in the region - both coastal states bordering the zone and distant water fishing nations - and we hope this can be achieved for the good of all," said Mr Symmans.

ENDS

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