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Ministry of Fisheries doesn't know own Act

Ministry of Fisheries doesn't know own Act

Hot on the heels of a failed paua poaching prosecution, the Ministry of Fisheries again fudged the Fisheries Act when it launched an attack on senior lecturer in economics and public policy Cath Wallace.

"The Ministry of Fisheries appears to be fudging the law by claiming that maximum sustainable yield is only a guideline. This misrepresentation of the law is being used by the Ministry to hide its failed management of the orange roughy fishery under the quota management system," Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell said.

"No matter what MFish might want to claim. The law is clear. Under the Fisheries Act fish stocks must be managed at or above population that supports Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) which for orange roughy is 30% of the original biomass," he said.

"Any orange roughy stock that is below 30% is being over-fished and must be restored," he said.

"MFish should explain to the public how they allowed the Challenger and Puysegur stocks to collapse. They should also explain why only two out of eleven orange roughy fish stocks are above the 30% MSY threshold," he said.

"MFish's management of the Challenger stock is particularly abysmal - they were forced to close it when it reached 3%. That's fairly spectacular non-performance," he said.

"The Fisheries Act was passed eight years ago. It is not a new Act, no matter what MFish might say. If MFish can't deliver the goods, New Zealand needs a new agency that will," he said.

Notes: Section 13 of the Fisheries Act 1996 requires: "(2)The Minister shall set a total allowable catch that- (a)Maintains the stock at or above a level that can produce the maximum sustainable yield, having regard to the interdependence of stocks;"

Section 2 of the Fisheries Act 1996 defines MSY as: ``Maximum sustainable yield'', in relation to any stock, means the greatest yield that can be achieved over time while maintaining the stock's productive capacity, having regard to the population dynamics of the stock and any environmental factors that influence the stock:"

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