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How Can Overfishing Possibly Be Sustainable?

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today asked why the Hoki fishery needed a 20 per cent quota reduction just three months after it had been publicly launched and promoted as a sustainably managed fishery.

"The Greens fully support the concept of certifying fisheries but the term sustainable has to mean something," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"Consumers want to know that a fishery has been managed so that there will be fish to catch forever and that the environment and other species are protected."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Hoki fishery has obviously been seriously overfished, otherwise a 20 per cent quota reduction - or 50,000 tonnes per year - would not be required.

"This substantial cut just three months after the Hoki fishery was awarded Marine Stewardship Council Certification as a supposed 'sustainably managed fishery' makes a mockery of environmental assurances from the fishing industry," she said.

"These cuts have been proposed by the Fisheries Minister because of concerns over fish stocks."

One model in the most recent assessment on Hoki from the Ministry of Fisheries showed there was more than a 50 per cent chance of stock decline in the next five years.

Ms Fitzsimons said the Hoki fishery was also responsible for the deaths of around 1000 fur seals and the death of over 800 sea birds a year - the main species being white-capped, Buller's and Salvin's albatross.

"Given that this fishery was labelled as sustainable at the same time as it was being overfished and considering the serious impact fishing for Hoki has on other marine animals, consumers have every right to be sceptical of industry claims that this fishery is an 'international green benchmark'," said Ms Fitzsimons.


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