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Greens make waves at Seafood Industry conference

14 May 2002

The fishing industry has to clean up its act and fast, co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said as she launched the Green Party Policy on the Sea at the annual seafood industry conference today.

"Whatever you think about some things in our policy, I hope it might stimulate some thought about where the fishing industry is going," Ms Fitzsimons told delegates. "The current situation is not sustainable. We are responsible for the fourth largest marine area in the world - 15 times our land mass. If we keep plundering our marine environment at this rate, we will lose some species forever."

The Green Party policy advocates:

* Preserving 20 percent of the coastline in marine reserves;

* Setting up a Marine Department to provide consistent management of all industries using the sea and integrate conservation with fishing management

* Setting a near-zero target for by-catch (fishing related deaths) of marine mammals, turtles, endangered seabirds and threatened marine species; and closing the fishery for the season if the target is exceeded;

* Facilitating the protection of marine areas adjacent to national parks (eg Fiordland), and establishing marine parks in key areas such as Fiordland, the Marlborough Sounds and the Bay of Islands;

* Banning further holding of whales, dolphins and seals in captivity;

* Making Kahawai and Kingfish recreational-only species;

* Returning to quota resource rentals, except for the 20 percent of quota owned by Maori as a Treaty settlement;

* Requiring a public environmental impact assessment and consent process for industrial activities anywhere in the EEZ.

"We need to preserve at least 20 percent of our coastline in its natural state, not only so that people can appreciate, experience and study it, but also to protect fish spawning, hatching and growing.

"Conservation of the sea is about where land conservation was 100 years ago. We're still at the burn and pillage stage when it comes to the marine environment. This policy moves us toward a more mature attitude where we can protect this precious environment for the future."

A copy of Jeanette's speech and the Policy on the Sea is available on the web or by request from the media office.


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