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Minister leaves door open to illegal aquaculture

Phil Heatley MP National Party Fisheries Spokesman

31 March 2004

Minister leaves door open to illegal aquaculture

"David Benson-Pope must provide some urgent direction to officials who may now be forced to deal with four more unlicensed aquaculture ventures on the East Coast," says National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

"The Fisheries Minister has opened the door for breaches, by failing to take action against the operation at Potaka Marae.

"It was only a question of time before other groups followed their lead," says Mr Heatley.

He's commenting on reports from a Gisborne District Council Committee meeting which was told four more unlicensed aquaculture ventures similar to that at Potaka could be in the pipeline.

"This is a totally unacceptable situation.

"Most people working in the industry have spent large amounts of money making sure they comply with the rules.

"But when it comes to Potaka the Minster has left a leadership vacuum. While he's busy declaring that he can't do anything - others are busy seizing the initiative.

"The only way to safeguard the viability of aquaculture for future generations is to make sure the checks and balances are applied to everyone equally," says Mr Heatley.

Ends

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