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Council in favour of protecting bio-diversity

NZ seafood industry council in favour of protecting bio-diversity

15 February 2006

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council supports 'the greatest marine bio-diversity protection proposal that has been presented in the world,' says Chief Executive Owen Symmans. The Deepwater Trawling companies group's proposal of Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs) would close 31% of the EEZ to bottom trawl fishing,

"This is about protecting bio-diversity and it's an incredibly bold and solid move to achieve that. The areas protected represent every category of the marine classifications within the EEZ and are - mostly - completely untouched - so they will remain in their natural state in perpetuity," Mr Symmans said. "I think that's astoundingly good news."

The proposal went further, to suggest some areas in international waters also be considered for protection, but this would be determined subject to the development of a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation for the South Pacific.

"Clearly we'd need consensus from all parties in the RFMO - but I believe that New Zealand has set a clear precedent and we have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our commitment as a country to protecting bio-diversity."

"We hope that people recognise the vision behind this initiative, and we hope that they'll gain a proper, accurate perspective - only 7% of the EEZ deeper than 200 metres has ever been bottom trawled. We can make sure that 30% - most of it still in its complete and natural state - will never be bottom trawled. Are you for that or not?

"We've had great support from all the people and groups who are intelligent enough to understand that this is about bio-diversity and protecting it for the future. You're either for that or against it. We're for it," he said.


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