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A Toothfish Moratorium Encourages Illegal Fishing

Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson understands the importance of allowing responsible, sustainable fishing in the Ross Sea Antarctic Toothfish fishery, says Alastair Macfarlane, Trade Policy Manager of the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.

"A move towards a moratorium on exploratory Toothfish fishing would have dire environmental consequences and would effectively halt all scientific research in the area," Mr Macfarlane said.

"It 's ironic that an environmental group is pushing for the moratorium, knowing full well it would be a green light for uncontrolled illegal fishing on a grand scale."

The New Zealand seafood industry has spent tens of millions of dollars on research in the Ross Sea since 1996, covering a range of species including Skate and Toothfish. Recently, this research was highly praised by CCAMLR, the international body which monitors the area.

"If our vessels were not down there for the fishing season conducting this research, it would cost the Government upwards of $6 million a year to undertake the same research on its own," Mr Macfarlane said.

"New Zealand is at the forefront of international efforts to stop poaching, and the industry wholeheartedly supports the current measures. Illegal fishing operators aren't going to pay any attention to a moratorium - it would simply give them a free rein."

For further information contact Alastair Macfarlane Ph 021 687 537

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