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Greens’ ignorance endangers kahawai

Monday, 13 September 2004

Greens’ ignorance endangers kahawai

United Future fisheries spokesman, Larry Baldock, today poured scorn on claims from the Greens co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, that she has successfully negotiated agreements with the Minister of Fisheries that will save New Zealand’s dwindling stocks of kahawai from being wiped out by commercial fishermen.

“Mrs Fitzsimons claims she has secured an acknowledgement from the government that kahawai is a recreational fish,” said Mr Baldock

“This simply shows how easy it was for the Minister to pull the wool over her gullible eyes, as that acknowledgement was part of Labour policy at the last election and yet hasn't delivered anything for the recreational fishing sector so far.

“Likewise, Mrs Fitzsimons is boasting about getting a commitment to research funding for the industry - an investment the Minister announced at the Recreational Fishing Council meeting last July.

“The Greens can be forgiven for not knowing that, as no-one from the Green Party bothered to attend that meeting.

“Similarly the other agreements she is supposed to have obtained from the Minister were all offered to me, and because they were rejected by the recreational fishing groups as meaningless, I also rejected them.

“What is the point of banning purse seine vessels in some limited geographic location if they can still catch the schools of kahawai when they stray into the fishing zone?

“The caveat, "if the data justifies it", is a sign the Minister is committing to nothing at all. What more data does the Ministry need than 1900 submissions from recreational fishers stating they can't find much kahawai to catch anymore?

“That's because once the commercial sector has taken its quota allocation there is very little left for anyone else, and that is what my recent amendment to the fisheries legislation – which the Greens voted against - would have stopped.”


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