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Regulations to reduce seabird deaths

20 May 2005

Consultation begins on regulations to reduce seabird deaths

Acting Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson has begun consultation on regulations that make compulsory the use of bird scaring devices on fishing trawlers.

The Minister is obliged under the Fisheries Act to consult with stakeholders on the introduction of any new rules, in this instance, regulatory measures to manage the incidental catch of seabirds in middle depth trawl fisheries.

The proposal is to regulate key mitigation measures for all trawl vessels over 28 metres in length that fish within 200 nautical miles of the South Island, Chatham Islands and sub-Antarctic Islands.

This would make compulsory the use of measures such as paired tori lines – bird scaring streamers hung from the back of boats - bird bafflers or acoustic scaring devices.

The Minister also proposes to regulate these same vessels to prevent the discharge of offal while fishing.

The consultation process will run until mid June. Advice will then go to the Minister with any new regulations set to come into effect by early July.

ENDS

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