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Fisheries Industry Requires Plan For Overfishing

Tuesday 25 January 2005

Fisheries Industry Requires Plan For Overfishing

“NUPE supports the Maritime Workers Union’ view that over-fishing is occurring and being used by the industry and Government as an excuse for undermining NZ fishers’ wages,” Martin Cooney, organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) said today. He was commenting on the recent Government decision to allow Independent Fisheries to import twenty Indonesian workers to replace a New Zealand crew made redundant in October 2004.

“The fact is that New Zealand fishing crews are being replaced by cheaper foreign crews because overfishing has lowered company profits and now they are trying to fix the problem by slashing workers wages,” said Martin Cooney.

“NUPE supports the call for a serious examination of the industry rather than short term responses which cut the jobs and wages of NZ fishers,” said Martin Cooney. “It is the current policing arrangements which are meant to prevent overfishing that clearly need improvement.”

“The Government strategy is to have a primary focus on deterrence via massive fines and forfeiture of vessels if over-fishers are caught. This however sits alongside low numbers of actual staff (about 100) policing the four sectors – commercial, customary, amateur and poaching/black-market. “

“This approach is clearly not working. In addition to the overfishing of commercial stocks, poaching of paua is rampant and twelve coastline areas are closed due to over gathering of shellfish. NUPE is calling for the Government to double the number of front line Fishery Officers and to give them the equipment to do their jobs if the overfishing is to stop,” said Martin Cooney.


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