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Minister must speak up on fishing claims

Phil Heatley MP National Party Fisheries Spokesman

24 November 2005

Minister must speak up on fishing claims

National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley says Jim Anderton should demand a public apology from the Royal Forest and Bird Society for the assertions made in its 'Best Fish Guide'.

"The fishing industry is one of our most important export earners. It provides thousands of jobs throughout the country, and most nutritionists recognise fish is a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

"So why does Forest and Bird's Best Fish Guide insist that nearly all the fish caught in our waters shouldn't be eaten?

"The guide was launched publicly two weeks ago and until today the Minister had said nothing.

"Silence is no longer an option for the Minister.

"The guide alleges that more than 69 seafood species are being poorly managed without adequate information.

"Furthermore, it claims that 'our fish and shellfish stocks are being fished to the brink of collapse'. Surely this is a direct attack on the Ministry's management of this industry.

"Jim Anderson can't sit on his hands. He either agrees with Forest and Bird that the $30 million spent on fisheries management has been wasted, or he supports the industry for which he is Minister."

Mr Heatley says Mr Anderton should demand an apology and retraction from Forest and Bird, and look at ways of repairing the damage from the irresponsible claims made in the Best Fish Guide.

ENDS

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