One more year could be too late for toothfish
18 July 2000, Auckland, New Zealand
The New Zealand
Government’s announcement today - that they may advocate
within a year for a global moratorium on fishing for
toothfish - could be too late for toothfish in the Southern
Ocean, said Greenpeace.
“The fact that the
Government will be seeking permission for three New Zealand
vessels to catch toothfish in the Ross Sea this summer
suggests that this Government is still bowing to pressure
from a few fishing companies. A moratorium and trade ban is
urgently needed to save Antarctica's toothfish and
endangered seabirds right across the Southern Ocean” said
Tricia Allen, Campaign Director for Greenpeace in New
“Time is running out for the toothfish.
Scientists predict that patagonian toothfish in some areas
of the Southern Ocean will be commercially extinct in two
years if the pirate fishery is not stopped” said Tricia
“Although we're relieved that the Government
is at last stating that it will consider a moratorium and
trade ban on toothfish, today’s announcement that New
Zealand will wait another year is not good enough for the
fragile Southern Ocean ecosystem. It’s well known that
toothfish and endangered albatross species have already been
decimated by years of illegal fishing. If this Government
genuinely wants to stop illegal fishing, there is one clear
way to do this – and that is not by pushing for additional
fishing licenses this summer. Instead, New Zealand should
go to the CCAMLR meeting this November with a strong stance
pushing for a moratorium and trade ban” said Tricia
Today’s announcement keeps the door open for
"exploratory commercial" fishing for another year, and
claims that a tightly managed fishery "still offers the
best hope for controlling the exploitation of toothfish.
Meanwhile, the owners of two New Zealand licenced vessels
are currently before the courts on charges relating to the
failure to complete research required under their permit
during last year's toothfish fishing season.
Greenpeace questions how toothfish stocks will be
protected if the Government gains licenses for three New
Zealand vessels to catch toothfish this summer.
"Pirate fishing has long raged out of control across the
Southern Ocean despite the presence of CCAMLR licensed
fishing vessels. While the illegal fishery continues to
make a killing out of toothfish, the legal fishery is
simply another threat to an already stressed fish species
and ecosystem. Meanwhile, the presence of legally caught
fish on the market continues to hide those fish caught
illegally” said Tricia Allen.
For further information, contact Tricia Allen
on 09 630 6317 or 025 790 817.