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Industry committed to cutting seabird deaths

Media Release from The DeepWater Group Limited


Seafood industry committed to cutting seabird deaths

22 February 2008

Incentive based measures have proven to be far more successful than prescriptive regulation processes, says Deepwater Group Limited chief executive George Clement, and blanket regulations are not the best option.

Fishermen already share and support the Minister of Fisheries’ objectives of reducing seabird by-catch and, for the deepwater fleet, have been actively deploying good old kiwi ingenuity to avoid seabird deaths for some years now, Mr Clement said.  Current legislation and industry initiatives have already been very effective at reducing interactions between trawlers and seabirds. 

“Seabirds see us as a source of food and, unfortunately, some of them become injured or die when they strike trawl cables or nets while chasing a “free feed” at the stern of trawlers.  Successful mitigation measures to date have focused on making cables more visible and reducing the release of fish offal when seabirds could be at risk of injury.  New Zealand long-line operators have long been recognised as having developed world leading practices with reducing bird interactions.”

“Independent Government observers have established a reduction in total seabird deaths, and albatross deaths in particular, over recent years.

“Fishermen don’t want to catch seabirds, in fact they are already working very hard to prevent seabird interactions”, he said.  “Some of these developments are uniquely Kiwi and are now being sought by other countries wishing to learn from our know-how.  New Zealand has long been recognised as one of the best in fisheries management in the world and now we are being sought as leaders in environmental solutions.”

“However, we do not support the approach of the proposed blanket regulations in order to improve rogue operator performance - this may well act to remove incentives for continued improvements and is not conducive to an ongoing, collaborative, solutions-focused approach.”



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