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Rollout of fishing cameras important practical step

4 April 2018

Rollout of fishing cameras important practical step

The Government’s explanation for its reluctance to install monitoring cameras on commercial fishing vessels to better protect our marine life falls short of being credible, National’s Conservation Spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.

“In Parliament on Tuesday the Associate Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage agreed that cameras on fishing vessels are a useful monitoring tool to help protect seabirds and other mammals.

“This Government has delayed the rollout of electronic monitoring on commercial fishing vessels and is even considering removing them entirely, despite the advocacy of the Minister and the fact we know they will result in less harmful bycatch.

“The Department of Conservation has gone as far as to say it would be the single most important step we can take now to better protect our seabirds and marine mammals like dolphins.

“The Government needs to explain exactly what and who among the Coalition partners is blocking this very sensible technology from protecting seabirds and marine mammals like dolphins.

“That’s why the previous Government had committed to it – and why the current Government’s reluctance is so hard to understand.

“The deaths of five Hector’s Dolphins last month was a real tragedy. They are endangered and the Government should be doing more to protect them – instead it is doing less and no one seems to be able to explain why.

“Eugenie Sage has washed her hands of it – saying questions around the protection of our marine species are a matter for Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash.

“New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has vehemently objected to suggestions it might be New Zealand First preventing the rollout.

“So who is it? And why?

“Either way, someone needs to front and explain what’s going on,” Ms Dowie says.

ends

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