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Fisheries Officers Stop Work

Tuesday 28 September 2004

Fisheries Officers Stop Work To Discuss Front Line Cuts

“Fishery Officers will stop work on Friday afternoon (1 October) to discuss the impact of the proposed cuts to front line staff,” said Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today.

“From late October 2004, the Ministry intends to reduce front line enforcement by about 40% across many of the outlying areas of the country. Latest statements from the Minister of Fisheries indicate that the already overstretched Police will be expected to pick up the work now being done by the Fishery Officers,” said Martin Cooney.

“Material obtained under the Official Information Act shows that the Ministry plans to move away from from an enforcement regime ‘where enforcement services are delivered evenly across the board to one where priority focus will be given to important rules or identified fisheries’.”

“While it makes sense to focus more resources onto the out of control poaching sector, this cannot be at the expense of general front line enforcement. There is a need for doubling the number of front line Fishery Officers and equipping them properly so they can adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to all Fisheries enforcement, whether recreational, customary or commercial.”

“The experience of Police Forces overseas which give up on what is considered petty crime to focus on major crime is that the approach soon fails,” said Martin Cooney. “Friday’s stop work meeting will be looking at what actions the Fishery Officers can take to get this message across to their communities.”

ENDS

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