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Less than 10 percent of NZ's EEZ is bottom trawled

13 February 2006

Less than 10 percent of New Zealand's EEZ is bottom trawled

The New Zealand Seafood Industry has never denied that bottom trawling has some impact on the ocean floor, said Owen Symmans, Chief Executive of the NZ Seafood Industry Council, today in response to Greenpeace claims. Within the EEZ less than 10% has been bottom trawled.

"We agree that mechanisms must be found to protect bio-diversity, but there has to be a balance between sustainable utilization and protection. A total ban on bottom trawling would not achieve this objective. That's why it's important in the high seas to establish a regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) in the South Pacific region to ensure a balance is achieved."

There is a lot of misinformation about bottom trawling, Mr Symmans says. "It does not destroy the ocean eco-system. Less than 10% of the EEZ has ever been bottom trawled, and even then the impact varies depending upon the nature of the ocean floor."

Bottom trawling is a major method of fishing worldwide. In New Zealand it is estimated that $800million of the $1.2billion earned from the seafood industry in 2003 was from species caught by trawling and related methods. "All food production results in some change to the environment," Mr Symmans said. "As an industry we provide export revenues, jobs and food.

We are realistic and open to the need to manage environmental issues to ensure a sustainable renewable resource. It's in the best interests of the nation - and the industry. Greenpeace seems unable to grasp these facts and from all accounts looks like they want to shut down one of this country's vital sustainable industries."


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