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New Minister Must Address Poaching Now

New Minister Must Address Poaching Now

24 Mar 2004 Press Releases - Environment & Conservation

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and former Fisheries Minister Ken Shirley today urged new Minister David Benson-Pope to act promptly to tighten Regulation 27 of the Amateur Fishing Regulations providing for customary rights.

"It is an appalling state of affairs when Gisborne fisheries officers say the situation is out of hand on the East Coast, and that they are afraid for their personal safety to venture past Waipiro Bay," Mr Shirley said.

"This is an admission of the breakdown of law and order, and the Government can no longer turn a blind eye. The Government's report identifying an East Coast poaching network was received over a year ago. It is time to act.

"Regulation 27 must be tightened and provide the following:

· All permits for customary take must be signed by an identified community leader who is registered with the Fisheries Ministry for that purpose;

· All permits should be dated with a time limit and a clear statement of the purpose for which the customary take is being exercised;

· There should be no retrospective permits;

· The person issuing the permit should share liability for any abuse arising from the exercise of that permit;

· Any person exercising the permit must have the permit in their possession

· In the interests of conserving fish resources there should be no special provision for taking under-sized fish.

"It is unacceptable for both Prime Minister Helen Clark and Mr Benson-Pope to claim they are waiting for further reports before taking action when they received a highly specific and detailed report outlining the problem over 12 months ago," Mr Shirley said.


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