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Plundered beaches on the rise

Plundered beaches on the rise

National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley says that the steady pattern of closed beaches is locking everyday families out of what has been one of the great New Zealand traditions - collecting shellfish.

This follows the release of replies to written questions to Mr Heatley from the Minister of Fisheries regarding the number of beach closures in recent years.

Only four stretches of coastline were closed during the nineties, this increased to seven in 2002 and 11 stretches are closed to shellfish collection this year.

"Some of the stretches of coastline include entire harbours," says Mr Heatley.

"Clearly the Ministry of Fisheries is stretched when it comes to policing New Zealand's coastline.

"It just cannot be that the Ministry's compliance unit is sufficiently resourced if we are getting ongoing and increasing plundering of our shellfish and beach closures are the result.

"Closing the beaches to all and sundry is not a solution. It is a simplistic response to a disastrous situation caused by unchecked plundering," says Mr Heatley.

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