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Bluefin tuna catch monitoring to be reviewed

Media Statement

9 March 2000

Bluefin tuna catch monitoring to be reviewed

The Ministry of Fisheries will review the monitoring system for managing southern bluefin tuna, Minister of Fisheries Pete Hodgson said today.

Southern bluefin tuna is a valuable species caught off the west coast of the South Island and the northeast coast of the North Island.

The review of the monitoring system follows an increase in fishing effort in the fishery by New Zealand vessels in the1999 season, and subsequent overcatch of New Zealand's catch limit by 37 tonnes. The catch limits are set by international agreement between Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

"Improvement to the tuna catch monitoring system is necessary to allow better control of catch levels as the limit is approached," Mr Hodgson said. "It is important that catch is controlled because of our concern about the sustainability of fishing for southern bluefin and our international obligations."

Following last season's bluefin overcatch, the New Zealand catch limit for the 2000 season of 420 tonnes will be reduced by 37 tonnes. The Ministry of Fisheries will be discussing the review of the catch monitoring system with domestic tuna fishing interests.

ENDS

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