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Greens welcome fishing quota cuts

7 September 2000

Greens welcome fishing quota cuts

Government moves to reduce commercial fishing and protect fishstocks have been hailed as "courageous" by Green Party Co-Leader and Fisheries Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"We finally have a Minister of Fisheries with the courage to take the hard decisions that are needed to protect our marine ecosystems, and the long term future of the fishing industry itself," said Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The closure of the Challenger Plateau orange roughy fishery might not be popular in some quarters, but it is essential for the future of that fishery," she said. "There is no point trying to find a sustainable level of fishing when only three per cent of the fish are left.

Ms Fitzsimons also welcomed the closure of nineteen deepwater seamounts to bottom trawling, but suggested that more closures would be needed.

"The ecology of seamounts is so diverse and relatively unknown that a significant proportion of the 600 seamounts in New Zealand waters will need to be protected if we want to avoid losing species before we even discover they exist," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons also welcomed the setting of a limit on the number of rare Hector's dolphins allowed to be killed in the elephantfish and rig fisheries off Banks Peninsula, but said more needed to be done.

"Hector's dolphin need protection throughout their range, and the limit will need to be closely monitored and enforced, especially as there will be more fishing pressure with an increase in the quota for elephantfish and rig," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said that overall she was pleased to see the precautionary principle finally starting to operate in fisheries management.

"With the review of oceans policy about to start, these fisheries decisions affirm my optimism that we have turned the corner in our attitude to the sea," she said. "The sea is to be respected, not exploited."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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