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Greens call NZers to boycott bottom trawled fish

Greens call on NZers to boycott bottom trawled fish

The Green Party is calling for New Zealanders to boycott orange roughy and deep-sea dory (oreo) as a protest at the clear-felling of undersea forests by bottom trawler fishing.

"It is clear that fishing companies and producers will only clean up their act if their profits are affected," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"While much of the deep sea catch is exported, the effect of having New Zealanders refuse to purchase these species of fish would make companies think again about what they are doing."

Orange roughy is a long-lived species, which is highly vulnerable to fishing on seamounts. It grows slowly, does not breed until it is 25-30 years old and can reach up to 150 years of age. Most populations are now below 20 percent of their original unfished size, with one at just 3 percent. Little is known about the remaining levels of deep-sea dory - also known as oreo.

However, both species are fished by bottom trawling. This method decimates seabed macro fauna and fragile seamount habitats. As well as netting orange roughy and deep-sea dory, bottom trawlers also kill non-target species, including deepwater sharks such as seal shark, Baxter's and shovel-nosed dogfish, soft corals, tall sponges, bryozoans, gorgonia and other corals that have been aged at over 500 years.

"Just last week we saw graphic pictures from the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior showing huge corals ripped from the seabed by bottom trawling.

"If New Zealanders as a whole refuse to purchase these fish species it will send a message to those companies that we don't want our precious seas destroyed. Restaurants serving orange roughy will soon take if off the menu if their customers tell them they won't buy it anymore. Supermarkets will think twice about stocking these products if they remain unpurchased in their freezers.

"Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, ECO and the Green Party have been campaigning on this issue for some years. Now it's time New Zealand as a whole sent a clear message to these companies," Ms Fitzsimons says.

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