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Minister deeply concerned by bird deaths

Minister deeply concerned by bird deaths in new fishery

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The Ministry of Fisheries is investigating a number of albatross deaths in the new and developing swordfish fishery in northern New Zealand waters, said Minister of Fisheries Jim Anderton.

The deaths were reported by a Ministry of Fisheries observer who was on board the vessel at the time.

"The incident is deeply concerning," said Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton. "We're looking at whether the vessel was complying with legal requirements, including whether it was using appropriate seabird mitigation measures.

"We're also looking at whether we need further mitigation or management measures, including increased observer coverage, in the fishery."

Swordfish were brought into New Zealand's Quota Management System on October 1st this year. Since then they have been the target species in a small, developing fishery involving a few boats in New Zealand's northern EEZ.

The Ministry of Fisheries has had fisheries observers on board vessels targeting swordfish since October 1st 2006.

ENDS

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