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Nats applaud proactive bottom trawling measures

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Fisheries Spokesman

14 February 2006


Nats applaud proactive bottom trawling measures

National applauds the fishing industry for putting forward proposals to close off a significant portion of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to deepwater bottom trawling, says National’s Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley.

“The fishing industry deserves credit for this first substantial move to meet the Fisheries Minister’s call for ‘urgent interim measures’ to address the bottom trawling debate,” says Mr Heatley.

“The industry’s proposals deserve full attention because the Minister’s own alternative measures, yet to be put forward by him, could prove to be nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction.

“Certainly, destroying the New Zealand fishing industry by way of a blanket moratorium would achieve nothing because other nations would still be able to bottom trawl the high seas completely unabated.

“Further, who can predict whether Wellington bureaucrats will strangle other groups with ocean interests, such as oil and gas explorers vital to our economy, or those owning undersea telecommunication cables.

“Positive long-term solutions to the bottom trawling debate can only be achieved through a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) involving other coastal fishing nations. The Minister should be making RFMO development a priority.

“RFMO’s deal with environmental issues around the fisheries habitat as well as fish stock sustainability.

“Good fisheries management depends on all nations having and sharing the best available information,” says Mr Heatley.

ENDS

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