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Seafood Industry Excited At World First Proposal

Seafood industry looking forward to turning world-first proposal into reality

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council is looking forward to working with the Government to turn the ‘the greatest marine bio-diversity protection proposal that has been presented in the world’ into reality, said Chief Executive Owen Symmans. The Deepwater Trawling companies group’s proposal of Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs) was presented to the Minister in February this year and would close 31% of New Zealand’s EEZ to bottom trawl fishing. Submissions on the proposal closed yesterday.

“We have set an international precedent and we believe the vision behind this initiative has huge support. Less than 10% of the EEZ deeper than 200 metres has ever been bottom trawled and with this proposal comes a promise that 31% of the EEZ never will be. The support we have received for the proposal has been extraordinary as people see that it is all about protecting bio-diversity for everyone’s benefit.”

The proposal includes a minimum 10% closure of all marine classifications within the EEZ. This ensures the protection of a considerable area of all benthic habitats found in the EEZ for future generations

The proposal includes suggestions to protect some areas of international waters from bottom trawling but this would be dependent on the establishment of a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation for the South Pacific.

Under the proposal the industry will give up significant potential fishing grounds by closing down areas to fishing.

This proposal to close 1.2million square miles of sea is breathtakingly bold by any standards, said Mr Symmans. The area to be closed is 4.4 times bigger than the total land area of New Zealand, and 4.5 times greater than the total area closed in Australia. It [the proposal] demonstrates the industry’s commitment to sustainability and the protection of biodiversity said Mr. Symmans.


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