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Tough stance on long-lines welcome

7 December 2006

Tough stance on long-lines welcome

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton is to be congratulated for imposing greater controls on long-line fishing to minimise seabird deaths, the Green Party says.

The Minister yesterday announced a series of measures designed to reduce seabird by-catch in long-line tuna and swordfish fisheries, including only allowing long-lines to be set at night, requiring bird-scaring streamer lines to be used with all long-lines, and requiring fishers to notify the Ministry of Fisheries of their intention to use long-lines.

The measures follow unprecedented high levels of seabird deaths at the hands of long-line fishers, particularly the rare Antipodean Albatross.

"These measures are vital to put a stop to the unnecessary slaughter of seabirds," Green Party Fisheries Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"Earlier this year I showed the House very disturbing photographs of seabirds mangled in fishing lines so that MPs could see the devastating effect the fishing industry is having on our endangered birds. Unfortunately, voluntary industry measures have proved ineffective at combating this problem, so it is appropriate and encouraging that the Minister is now prepared to step in.

"Hopefully these measures will make a difference, but I am also pleased to see that the Minister is considering closures of the long-line fisheries should these measures not be effective. I would urge the Minister to monitor the situation closely, and not to be afraid to take stronger action if necessary," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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