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Fisheries Minister Supports Environment Taskforce

Media statement

20 January 2000

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s Report on the Management of New Zealand’s Marine Environment is very much in line with current Government policy, says Fisheries Minister, Hon Pete Hodgson.

“We have long believed that an integrated, ecosystem-based approach was needed for the management of New Zealand’s marine environment. Indeed, the Commissioner’s recommendation that a Coastal and Oceans Task Force be established was signalled in Labour’s policy where we identified the possibility of an Oceans Commission to perform the tasks outlined in the Report. Strategic work already begun by the Ministry of Fisheries would undoubtedly contribute to the work of any such taskforce.

“I welcome the Commissioner’s report and as the first step in such an integrated Government approach. I intend to work collaboratively with my Ministerial colleagues in considering the recommendations.

“Government recognises that comparatively little is known about marine eccosystems and there is need for more research across the whole of the Government and private sectors. I have already signalled my commitment to this.”

Mr Hodgson said there was a wider need for New Zealand as a society to build a consensus about what we needed to achieve through the sustainable use of natural resources. “As well as ecosystem research, we need socio-economic research to develop a sound policy and legal framework for the integrated management of our marine ecosystems, of which my portfolio of Fisheries is just one small but important part.”

With regard to the recommendation that high priority be given to the identification and protection of a representative selection of seamounts, the Ministry of Fisheries is already moving on this.

Government wants to see a strong and viable fishing industry, high quality recreational and customary fishing all taking place in a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The report released today gives a useful pointer to how we might work towards the ultimate goal of sustainable development.

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