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Fishing Industry must move on from Scampi saga

Fishing industry must now move on from the Scampi saga

By Liam Butler - Editor www.PortFocus.co.nz

Gerrard Eckhoff, ACT MP and member of the Primary Production Select Committee described this week the scampi inquiry as "one of the most notorious inquires held by a select committee. Allegations of improper practice, sex for questions, free fish meals, are unusual to say the least, especially when leveled at the committee holding the inquiry. "

Few would want to rebut Eckhoff's assertion that the Scampi inquiry the mess that it has caused is unusual. Even the most ardent agnostic would thank God that such a disgraceful set of affairs is unusual in NZ. New Zealand's little economy simply can not suffer the economic backlash that such allegations of corruption and the unmeasurable harm such violent and widespread industry infighting causes the reputation of not only the fishery sector but the entire NZ economy. Overseas industry spectators have over the past months have looked aghast as the NZ fishing industry and politicians have become their own worst enemies bickering like a set of twits amongst them selves.

The time has come for the seafood industry leaders to take charge of their own industry again. It is not the time for NZ seafood industry to bemoan that Politicians have stuck their hands in the fish pie and made a mess. The simple fact is that the NZ fishing industry needs to be its own watch dog. Self regulation through ethical practices and honest corporate governance is the best way to show politicians that we are capable of looking after our own industry. However when industry infighting and the precursor to which is simple basic greed is the dominant force in our industry it is little wonder that NZ Politicians have been forced to intervene and sort out the mess we have created.

NZ prides its self as its can do co operative nature. NZ Fisheries have shown none of that skill set over the past two years or so. Indeed it has been quite the contrary NZ fisheries sector has become like a particularly tortured soap opera. Industry leaders have been putting knives in the backs of their long term business partners give into greed to and seek short term profits at the cost of ultimately more profitable but admittedly harder work long term relationships.

It is time for the major fishing companies to stand up admit guilt of not keeping their decks clean of corruption and infighting that has now sadly perforated our industry like a cancer.

By cutting out the cancer of infighting the power of politicians will diminish. Seafic, TOKM and the Fishing Industry Guild must now stand up and act. As editor of PortFocus.co.nz I challenge them to work hard, crack some heads together, bruise some massive fishing industry egos and do what ever it takes to bring back some respectability to the fishing industry operations.

It is absolutely pointless moaning about the state of the NZ fishing industry if it non existent. If you think that is alarmist, contact any of the workers of the 'Ocean Ranger' one of the largest fishing vessels to grace NZ waters which is now tragically tied up indefinitely in Port Nelson as it is uneconomic to send it to sea.

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