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NZ Fishermen Condemn Dolphin Carnage

DRAFT (25 January 2008)

NZ Fishermen Condemn Dolphin Carnage

The organisation that represents the owner-operators of New Zealand’s fishing fleet is appalled at the killing of 22 Common Dolphins off the West Coast of the North Island, reported earlier today.

Doug Saunders-Loder, the President of the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, said today it was clear the killings were an indictment of the poor standards adopted by foreign charter vessels.

He said Kiwi owner-operators would never condone the sort of practices that were commonplace with foreign vessels and it was important for the public to understand the clear distinction between the domestic and foreign fleets.

“It has been well established that foreign charter vessels account for a vast majority of seabird strikes in New Zealand waters, and for the bulk of deep water fisheries offences generally, such as blatant dumping and area misreporting.

“I have no doubt that this latest incident is a continuation of their shabby practices.”

Mr Saunders-Loder said the Federation’s members, many of them traditional family firms in smaller ports, took their responsibilities seriously.

“Our members are always striving to act responsibly. They accept the need for our fishery to be managed sustainably, to protect key fish stocks, and to conserve and protect endangered species like dolphins.

“They take a dim view of deplorable actions that might unfairly tarnish their reputations.”

He said the recent killing of these dolphins underlined the need for the government to act to curb the dodgy practices of foreign charter vessels.

A much tougher approach was needed on all governance issues surrounding foreign charters.

Observer standards on the foreign fleet were deplorable, health and safety standards were highly dubious and abuses of the quota management system were far too prevalent, Mr Saunders-Loder said.

“The actions of foreign charter vessels are giving a distorted view of who the culprits are when it comes to non-compliance and abuses. The public needs to know that their inshore owner-operators are not going to sit back and be unfairly labeled with this type of shoddy behaviour.

ENDS

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