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Time for a real bottom-trawling ban

5 September 2006

Time for a real bottom-trawling ban

A bottom-trawling ban proposed by the fishing industry has been discredited once and for all by a NIWA report, the Green Party says.

The report finds that the areas included in the ban are of minimal biodiversity value and will cost the industry almost nothing to stop fishing.

"While we will always encourage the fishing industry to take voluntary action on this issue, it must be meaningful. We said when this proposal was announced that we feared it would only apply to areas that were already overfished, and this is confirmed in the NIWA report," Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"A 'ban' which allows fishing companies to continue the destructive practice of bottom-trawling - destroying rare corals, sponges and other marine life and damaging rare ecosystems and habitats - and only 'bans' them from areas which are either too deep to trawl or already overfished is not much of a 'ban' at all.

"When I questioned Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton in the House today on this issue it was apparent that it is becoming harder and harder for him to defend the industry proposal. He has been an effective exponent of the industry's economic arguments, but it is now time to look wider, and I am calling on him to work towards a better proposal.

"It is pretty clear by now that any proposal on this issue that is only developed by industry groups is not going to be sufficient. The Minister should convene a meeting of interested parties - including the industry but also DOC, NIWA, and environmental groups and take a collaborative approach to the issue.

"With this proposal, the industry has at least shown that it is at least open to the possibility of a bottom-trawling ban in some areas. Rather than buying their proposal hook, line and sinker, the Minister should now make sure that we end up with a meaningful one," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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