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Historic Maori Marine Farming Agreement Signed

PRESS RELEASE
26 JULY 2005

Historic Maori Marine Farming Agreement Signed

The Chairman of Te Ohu Kaimoana, Shane Jones, today signed an historic agreement with the Government that cements in place Te Ohu’s role in the allocation of water space specifically set aside for Maori marine farming operations.

The agreement provides for Te Ohu Kaimoana, the Maori Fisheries Trust, to take responsibility for ensuring that iwi organisations receive their entitlement under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement.

In conducting the signing, Mr Jones reiterated that aquaculture allocation would not get bogged down in the same arguments that held up allocation of wild fisheries to iwi for 12 years.

“Aquaculture is tipped to become one of the largest earners of foreign exchange in the fishing industry. It is estimated to contribute 50 percent of the world’s seafood production by 2010. With such projections, iwi are in a strong position to achieve some economic growth through an ecology-friendly, sustainable business.”

“Aside from the fact the aquaculture settlement differs fundamentally from the fisheries settlement, Te Ohu Kaimoana has the experience of the former Fisheries Commission from which to learn when allocating to iwi. The allocation of this settlement will be efficient and, depending on when space is transferred from the Government, expeditious.”

Much of how allocation of water space is to occur to iwi organisations is prescribed in the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004.

Mr Jones added that while Te Ohu Kaimoana would be responsible to allocate water space to iwi organisations mandated under the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 that are also mandated to represent their iwi on aquaculture, he hoped this could be achieved as soon as the space was passed to Te Ohu Kaimoana from the Government.

ENDS

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