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Budget funding for input into fisheries management

Budget funding for environmental input into fisheries management

21 May 2001

Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said she was pleased the Government had agreed to $50,000 in budget funding to allow environmental groups to participate in the development of the Ministry of Fisheries Environmental Management Strategy.

Ms Fitzsimons said Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson had agreed to the Green Party's initiative which will help ensure the environmental principles of the Fisheries Act are given proper consideration in fisheries management.

"A 1999 report by the Auditor General found that the Ministry of Fisheries needed to do more work to meet the Fisheries Act requirements to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the marine environment.

"In fact we don't even understand much about our marine environment and the Environmental Management Strategy is an essential step towards this," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The Greens were concerned that costs associated with participating in the development of the environmental management strategy would be prohibitive to some environmental groups and that advocacy for sustainable management, maintenance of biodiversity and protection of habitat would be weakened as a result," she said.

"How humans fish and how much fish we take from the oceans are core environmental issues and in the past not nearly enough care has been taken with this crucial resource," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"As a result how we deal with our oceans and our fisheries now is so much more important and there is a clear role for environmental organisations to play in fisheries management decisions.

"There are three stakeholder groups in fisheries management who derive no money from the use of the resource and who are therefore disadvantaged compared with the commercial fishing industry: customary Maori fishers, recreational fishers and conservation guardians.

"There is already money set aside to assist iwi to take part in decision making and last year the recreational sector received substantial funding to participate in the development of policy on recreational rights.

"This ensures the environmental stakeholders are not left out," said Ms Fitzsimons.

ENDS

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