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Government will defend fishing bans

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

12 September 2008
Media statement

Government will defend fishing bans to cut risk to Hectors and Mauis dolphins

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the Government would strongly defend the fishing industy suit filed today.

The Federation of Commercial Fishermen, South East Finfish Management Ltd, Challenger Finfisheries Management Company Ltd, and the Northern Fisheries Management Stakeholder Company today filed in the Wellington High Court a challenge to the Minister’s decision to introduce a package of regional bans and other restrictions on set netting, drift netting and trawling which are due to come into force on 1 October 2008.

The parties are seeking a judicial review to overturn all the commercial fishing measures, and interim orders in relation to some of them. The parties’ court action does not apply to similar measures due to come into force for recreational fishers on the same day.

Jim Anderton said the industry risked being seen by its customers around the world as driving an iconic species of dolphin to extinction.

“This industry has, I believe, the opportunity to be the world’s most environmentally friendly supplier of fish from a sustainable wild fishery.

 “New Zealand’s trading partners, buyers in our markets, and especially consumers are paying very close attention to the responsibilities of producers and the behaviour of our industry in taking this suit is, at the very least, unfortunate. New Zealand cannot afford to lose one more Maui’s dolphin – the species is far too close to extinction for comfort.”

Jim Anderton said the decisions he had made had been difficult and the measures he chose were not the most severe of the options being proposed.

“They struck the best achievable balance between the activities of fishers and the protection of Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins—a species that is one of the rarest in the world, is found only in our waters, and is entirely New Zealand’s responsibility.

“I understand the concerns of those whose livelihoods will be affected. That’s why the decisions I made were hard but necessary.

“However, I made my decisions on the basis of the best available information—scientific data, information from commercial, recreational, environmental and iwi interests, an analysis of economic and social effects, and advice from the Ministry of Fisheries, NIWA, and the Department of Conservation. These measures are the result of two years of careful analysis and wide public consultation, during which I considered about 2,500 submissions on the options presented in a draft Threat Management Plan,” he said.


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