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Leaked commercial fishing industry report

Recent leaked report on under-reporting hoki and links to dolphin by-catch in the commercial fishing industry

Given the recent leaked report regarding IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) practices in the commercial fishing industry Sea Shepherd is also concerned dolphin by-catch from the large trawlers on the west coast is going unreported or possibly even ending up in their “munching machines”. Some of this “fish meal” is destined to be fish food in the salmon farming industry.

A previous report regarding dolphin by-catch in the trawl industry obtained by Sea Shepherd NZ in 2016 under the Official Information Act showed some of the very same vessels in the recent leaked report were regularly catching dolphins. One trawl in 2007/2008 by a 90 metre foreign charted vessel (contracted to one of the big three fishing companies) caught and killed nine common dolphins in one trawl off the west coast. Fifty four percent of the “capture events” were during nine percent of trawls where there was an official observer on-board. A damning statistic in itself.

Sea Shepherd NZ Managing Director Michael Lawry says, “Given some of the bizarre comments coming from the commercial sector indicating six years was a long time ago and “things have changed” indicates the industry continues to be in denial and cannot be trusted. If you are eating NZ commercially caught fish or even factory farmed salmon there is no guarantee it’s a not linked to an IUU fishing event”

Mr Lawry continues “The NZ commercial fishing industry is now using the term “sustainable” as just another hollow marketing term. In many cases it appears to mean “business as usual” given the information we now have of their practices over the last fifty years”.


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