Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Potential Impacts Of Deepwater Prawn Fishery

25 July 2002 - Wellington

Fisheries Fails To Consider Potential Impacts Of Deepwater Prawn Fishery

The Ministry of Fisheries is environmentally irresponsible in allowing a deepwater prawn fishery in the Southern Ocean without properly considering its impacts, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society says.

MinFish recently issued a two year special permit to Vela Fishing Co Ltd to trawl for deepwater prawns at depths of 600 metres covering an area the size of the South Island. The area includes the Challenger Plateau, west of New Zealand, north Chatham Rise and a large area of the Southern Ocean around the Bounty Islands and north of the Auckland and Campbell Islands.

"A copy of the special permit (obtained under the Official Information) shows that the Ministry of Fisheries did not require an environmental impact assessment, has put few conditions on the permit, has not set any catch limit, nor required scientific observers on all trips," Forest and Bird fisheries researcher, Barry Weeber says.

"Deepwater trawling is known to have substantial impacts on benthic (bottom dwelling) species. As heavy trawl nets are dragged along the bottom they smash sedentary species on the sea bottom such as long-lived sponges and bryozoans (lace corals)."

"The huge area over which MinFish has allowed prawn fishing increases the chances of widespread environmental damage and impacts on marine biodiversity," he said.

"Research for the scampi fishery has shown that impacts on benthic species are generally greatest at the start of a fishery when "new" fishing occurs in a relatively undisturbed area, as is happening here."

"The deepwater prawn fishery could also increase marine mammal and seabird deaths. Since the early 1980s, over 2,000 of the rare New Zealand or Hooker's sea lion have drowned in squid trawl nets. The squid fishery has been closed early five times in the last seven years to protect the sea lion.

"Around 1500 seabirds, including petrels and albatross are killed annually in New Zealand's trawl fisheries. The special permit includes no conditions to address these issues except to exclude prawn trawling from any areas already closed to trawling.

"The Southern Ocean is an area of exceptional biological richness. The role of prawns in the marine food web and the species they nourish and support is poorly understood. It is premature to allow this commercial take under the guise of research. Much stricter conditions are needed to reduce its likely impacts.

"Once again the Ministry of Fisheries is ignoring its responsibilities in the Fisheries Act to manage the impacts of fishing on the wider marine ecosystem."


Barry Weeber
Senior Researcher
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society
PO Box 631
New Zealand
Phone 64-4-385-7374
Fax 64-4-385-7373

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election