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No Sign Of Illegal Fishing

Surveillance Flight Finds No Sign Of Illegal Fishing

Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said he was pleased to report that this years first surveillance flight over the Southern Ocean had found no evidence of illegal fishing.

An Air Force Orion left Dunedin yesterday on the ten-and-a-half hour flight. It located a New Zealand vessel which had a permit to take limited amounts of toothfish from the Ross Sea under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The flight also located a tourist ship in the region.

Two other New Zealand vessels with fishing permits are operating well south in the Ross Sea but the flight did not go to their positions.

The Minister said there was no sign of illegal fishing. "New Zealand takes its responsibility to monitor these waters seriously. Monitoring efforts to enforce constraints on fishing are necessary to prevent the risk of the resource being fished to virtual commercial extinction," said Mr Goff.

Mr Goff made the comments as he prepared to depart from Christchurch for a visit to Antarctica along with fellow Cabinet Ministers Pete Hodgson, Marian Hobbs and Matt Robson.

As Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Goff is responsible for Antarctica New Zealand. He said "New Zealand's aim is to protect what is a very fragile environment. It is taking a strong environmental stewardship and science role in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean to achieve this."


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