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Forest And Birds Welcomes Green's Marine Policy

Forest and Bird today welcomed the Green's environment policy and its commitment to deal with the impacts of the fishing industry and set aside 20 percent of New Zealand's seas in marine reserves.

Forest and Bird Senior Researcher, Barry Weeber, said that action was needed to deal with the deaths of albatross, petrels and marine mammals caught by the fishing industry.

"Forest and Bird welcomes the Green's commitment to "set close to zero by-catch limits for threatened species" and to require environmental assessment of the fishing industry and miners.

"We welcome a party making serious commitments to protect the oceans and their special creatures."

Mr Weeber said the critically endangered North Island Hector's dolphin was still at risk from commercial set nets and that over 10,000 albatross and petrels, 1000 fur seals and 80 sea lions are drowned by the fishing industry.

"Forest and Bird calls on all political parties to match the commitments made by the Green's to substantially reduce protected species deaths in fisheries."

Mr Weeber said New Zealand had yet to complete a national plan of action on seabird deaths in fisheries as agreed in early 1999 by the UNFAO fisheries conference.

"The Ministry of Fisheries needs to get a hurry up in reducing seabird, marine mammal and threatened species deaths in fisheries. Many of these problems have been known about for over 10 years but little action has happened over several governments."

Mr Weeber said Forest and Bird welcomed the Green's commitment to set aside 20 percent of the oceans in marine reserves. "We look forward to other parties making similar commitments and future Government's actually delivering on this."

"It is overdue for the seas to be protected by a network of representative marine reserves.


Forest and Bird is part of the Vote for the Environment coalition, see www.environmentvote.org.nz

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