Government Accused of Double-Standards
Government Accused of Double-Standards on Fishing Compensation Proposal
Global conservation organisation WWF today accused the government of double-standards on its proposal to compensate commercial fishing companies for creating recreational fishing areas.
The proposal, announced yesterday would create ‘parks’ in the inner-Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds from which commercial fishing would be excluded. The government is proposing to compensate some fishing companies who are unable to fish elsewhere.
As part of its ‘Last 55’ Campaign to protect Maui’s dolphins, WWF has been calling on political parties to provide financial support for fishing companies to transition towards dolphin-safe fishing methods while extending protection for Maui’s dolphin. To date, the government has been unwilling to consider this financial support.
WWF Head of Campaigns Peter Hardstaff said,
“Up to now, the government has steadfastly refused to talk about the possibility of providing financial help for fishing companies to transition to dolphin safe methods in order to protect Maui’s dolphins. Yet now the government is proposing to financially compensate fishing companies in order to create recreational fishing parks. This smacks of double-standards.“
In recent policy announcements, both the Labour Party and the Green Party have committed to extending protection and providing transitional support for fishing communities on the west coast of the North Island, the only place where Maui’s dolphins live.
Mr Hardstaff continued,
“Protecting Maui’s dolphins is everyone’s responsibility. On behalf of all New Zealanders the government needs to help fishing communities transition so that we can extend protection while ensuring those affected still have a livelihood. Other political parties have made this commitment and it is high time the National Party did the same.
“The government needs to get its priorities straight. Financial support for local fishers in order to save a dolphin on the brink of extinction would appear to be more pressing than compensating fishing operators in order to create exclusive recreational fishing areas.”