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Native seabirds at risk

Labour 2000 web site
John Luxton's refusal to talk to conservation groups about the death of seabirds is typical of the Minister's hands-off, do-nothing approach, Labour conservation spokesperson Jill Pettis said.

The Minister of Fisheries is refusing to implement the measures to reduce seabird deaths on longline vessels that have been adopted by Australia and other countries.

"The National Government refuses to listen. New Zealand has already lost four seabird species of the 22 which were unique to New Zealand. 15 of our remaining 18 indigenous seabird species are threatened with extinction," Jill Pettis said.

"Fishing bycatch kills several hundred New Zealand seabirds each year, with the biggest area of concern being the longline vessels catching the southern bluefin tuna.

"Mr Luxton's approach is to ignore conservation issues. Another example is his proposals for the 'co-management' of fisheries. He is ignoring the concerns of conservation groups that the proposed reforms will result in further bycatch and threaten the longer-term sustainability of fish populations.

"The best solution will come from talking to both the fishing industry and conservation groups and to work with the industry to find the best way to prevent seabird bycatch," Jill Pettis said.

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