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19 out of more than 600 Seamounts is not Enough

Media Release - Thursday - 7 September 2000 - Wellington

19 out of more than 600 Seamounts is not Enough

The announcement by Pete Hodgson, Minister of Fisheries of the protection from bottom trawling of 19 undersea hills, and sea mounts is welcome but not enough, says Cath Wallace, marine coordinator for the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) today.

"The protection is welcome because these seamounts are rich in species and communities, often not found elsewhere. But it is not enough.

"There are more than 600 seamounts in the New Zealand managed sea area - and many are being severely damaged by trawling. The announcement of the protection of 19 is a mere token: just 0.03% of the total of the seamounts. The Ministry of Fisheries has apparently not advised the Minister that the Fisheries Act requires that ANY adverse effects of fishing must be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

"The Ministry has not grasped that the 1996 Fisheries Act requires them to develop a fisheries impacts management scheme for all seamounts.

"It is time for an end to the nonsense that all the sea is open to trawling or other fishing unless specifically protected. The 1996 Act does not permit the open frontier fisheries management of the past. We need a proper fisheries management with comprehensive environmental evaluation and protection, not just the protection of 0.03% of the area.

---------------- ends ------------

For further information contact Cath Wallace at (04)389-1696 after 7.00pm or at 04-463-5713 (w)

Cath Wallace
Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ
P O Box 11-057
Tel/fax ECO:(++64-4)385-7545;
Cath Wallace:++64-4-463-5713(w), ++64-4-389-1696 (h/fax)

Email Cath at work: Cath.Wallace@vuw.ac.nz
Email Cath at home: ecowatch@paradise.net.nz
ECO website: www.converge.org.nz/eco

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