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Fisheries Minister Refuses to Act on Seabird death

Media Release
Forest & Bird
10 July 1999

The Minister of Fisheries, John Luxton, is refusing to take action to reduce seabird deaths on longline vessels that have been adopted by Australia and by countries throughout the southern ocean.

Society spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said the Minister has refused to meet Forest and Bird to discuss the lack of action despite over three years of discussion on seabird deaths.

"Australia have agreed to a range of compulsory measures to reduce seabird deaths including tori (bird scaring) lines, night setting and other controls.

Mr Weeber said New Zealand continued to drag the chain in adopting measures that have been shown to reduce seabird bycatch.

"The only requirement on New Zealand and foreign vessels fishing in our waters is for tuna vessels to use tori (bird scaring) lines while setting gear.

Mr Weeber said there were still no requirements for bird avoidance measures on ling or bluenose longline vessels after 3 years of consultation.

"New Zealand does not require tuna or other longline vessels to fish at night which has been shown to be the most effective method of reducing seabird bycatch."

"How many thousand more albatrosses and petrels will die before the New Zealand government will take action," Mr Weeber concluded.


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