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Budget support for fisheries and aquaculture

Hon Phil Heatley

Minister of Fisheries

28 May 2009

Budget support for fisheries and aquaculture

New Budget funding will help the aquaculture industry grow, put more fisheries officers on New Zealand beaches and help improve recreational fisheries management.

The Government has announced $1.9 million in funding over the next four years to help development of sustainable aquaculture. Industry forecasts suggest aquaculture could grow into a billion dollar a year industry in New Zealand by 2025.

“Sustainable aquaculture is already an important export-earner for New Zealand and has the potential for substantial future growth,” Minister of Fisheries Phil Heatley says.

“The new funding will let us complete the review of current aquaculture legislation and begin implementation of any changes. We are looking to reduce the cost, uncertainty and time delays in planning and developing new aquaculture ventures.”

A new budget initiative will mean more fishery officers patrolling New Zealand’s coastline.

A boost of $4.2 million over the next four years will increase the honorary fishery officer network and the full time fishery officers needed to support it. This will build the honorary fishery officer network from 172 to 250 and full-time fishery officer numbers from 95 to 104 over the next four years.

“The additional resources will also allow the ministry to increase its general compliance effort in targeting known risk locations and species.

“Honorary fishery officer numbers dropped as low as 160 in 2005 – I’m very pleased to be turning that situation around. Greater compliance with fisheries legislation will help ensure that both current and future generations will be able to use and enjoy New Zealand’s fisheries.”

Other budget initiatives will provide better information on the recreational fishing catch to improve management of these fisheries. The money is split between two projects over the next four years:

• An extra $1.4 million will be spent on a new catch-reporting system for charter boats that carry recreational fishers

• An extra $2 million will be spent to develop estimates of recreational fishers’ harvest for some key inshore species.

“New Zealand’s recreational fishery is one of the world’s best, but we can make it even better. Getting more data on what is being caught and where is vital to achieving this,” Mr Heatley says.

ENDS

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