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Government should take urgency on seabird deaths

Government should take urgency on seabird deaths

The Government should urgently introduce mandatory penalties, including early closure of fisheries, for fishers that continue to slaughter seabirds, such as endangered albatrosses, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

"The Government's draft action plan on reducing seabird bycatch, released today, proposes only voluntary measures in the first instance, and has no deadlines or timeframes.

"This isn't good enough for those fisheries which have had years to take action but have made little progress," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The Green Party welcomes the discussion document, and the fact the Conservation Department and Fisheries Ministry are working together on the issue and canvassing various options.

"But we have had voluntary measures for years, and we still have the needless ongoing deaths of many seabirds, including precious petrels.

"Some fisheries, like the tuna fishery, have already taken strong steps and very significantly reduced their bycatch, and they should be congratulated. Others are trying new technology, for example, to enable marine mammals to escape. But many others are not taking the problem seriously enough.

"Action to stop the further decline of these bird species needs to be much more urgent and have far more teeth than proposed," Ms Fitzsimons said.

ENDS

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