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Protection from bottom trawling needed

23rd April 2008

Protection from bottom trawling needed closer to home

Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei is calling on the Fisheries Minister to give New Zealand's marine environment the same protection from bottom trawling he has just given international waters.

"The Ministry of Fisheries announced today new measures to reduce bottom trawling devastation in the South Pacific high seas - overdue and incomplete as they are - but has so far done nothing effective to preserve New Zealand's own marine environment from bottom trawling," Mrs Turei says.

"New Zealand has the largest bottom trawling fleet in the South Pacific, larger even than Australia's, and our own seas now have less protection than what we afford international waters.

"The 30 percent of Exclusive Economic Zone waters closed to bottom trawling by the fishing industry and Government have been conclusively shown to be a "poor option for the long-term protection of demersal fish diversity in New Zealand" by NIWA in a 2006 report.

"The vast majority (85 percent) of the areas protected are too deep for bottom trawling anyway.

"The protection areas we give our own seas are woefully inadequate, and do not even cover areas most at risk.

"The Fisheries Minister should take the rules o0f the international treaty and apply them to our own backyard, instead of bowing to fishing industry demands to pillage new Zealand's natural environment with impunity."

ENDS

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