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A new "guardian" patrolling South Island waters

18 August 2005

A new "guardian" patrolling South Island waters

Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope today launched a new $85,000 patrol boat in Picton that will add to Fisheries enforcement effort at the top of the South Island.

The patrol boat, a six-meter long Stabi Craft 609 powered by two Yamaha 100 horsepower motors, will contribute to fisheries compliance operations from Kaikoura through to the Marlborough Sounds.

"It's name Te Maru o Tangaroa or Guardian of the Sea, is significant," says Mr Benson-Pope. "It will be a highly visible and mobile sign of our fisheries enforcement work in the top of the South Island.

"The government has placed a significant emphasis on increased fisheries enforcement. We've increased by 40 per cent the number of Fisheries compliance staff since 1999, reflecting the government's commitment to protecting our fisheries.

"Poachers and black-market fishing operations are the target of an $11.6million crackdown over the next four years contained in Budget 2005. This included $2.9m of new operational funding in the coming year to create a Special Tactics team for covert operations. This will be achieved by employing up to 22 staff in the next two years dedicated to the poaching and black-market initiative.

"The Te Maru o Tangaroa will add to our capabilities. I am very pleased to be launching this vessel, which will be used to help protect fisheries resources that belong to all New Zealanders," said Mr Benson-Pope.

The vessel can carry up to four fisheries officers and is fitted with usual electronics including a GPS satellite positioning system.

ENDS

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