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Announcement Of Review On Fisheries Management

Announcement Of Review On Fisheries Management

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today announced the commissioning of an independent investigation into matters relating to Fisheries management.

Mr Wintringham said Fisheries management has always attracted criticism. "The environment is not an easy one. The economic and regulatory structure for Fisheries management is complex, the industry is fiercely competitive and litigious, and the underlying science, which guides the Fisheries management system, is difficult. There are polarised stakeholder views between what may be termed the "conservation" and the "harvesting" lobbies.

"Over the course of the year, as a decision on Scampi allocation came closer, these allegations have increased in intensity and seriousness and have attracted a high level of media interest. They have included an allegation of serious impropriety on the part of two senior officers of the Ministry of Fisheries.

"The particular allegations against the two senior officers have been considered twice. The Serious Fraud Office has reviewed them and considers they lack sufficient substance to warrant further investigation. The chief executive also instigated an independent review by Peter Andrew, a barrister. As a result of the reviews the chief executive considers the allegations without foundation. I agree.

"Nevertheless, more general allegations of impropriety or, at least, poor management of the Fisheries regime remain, are continuing to receive media coverage and, inevitably, cause public concern.

"Neither review has resulted in a detailed public response to the allegations. This is now required.

"Using my powers under the State Sector Act I will commission an independent person to review all the material in relation to this matter, interview people within and outside the Public Service as they consider necessary, and report to me on what action I, or anyone else, should take as a result of their review. On the basis of their report and, if necessary, any matters arising from the Select Committee review, I will either commission further action myself or place it in the hands of those for whom it is more appropriate to take action.

"This review will be conducted as quickly as possible and the report and recommendations to me will be made public.

"I will make no further public comment until the reviewer and terms of reference have been finalised and, subsequently, when I have been given their report," Mr Wintringham said.

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