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Government document not about shared fisheries

Government document not about shared fisheries says seafood industry

MEDIA RELEASE

25 October 2006

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council has grave concerns about the Ministry of Fisheries’ Shared Fisheries discussion paper. “The document’s intent is not what we expected,” said New Zealand Seafood Industry Council chief executive Owen Symmans.

“We already have an internationally recognized quota management system. What we were expecting in the discussion paper were proposals aimed at enhancing that system to ensure the sustainable management of our shared fisheries, not the reallocation that appears to be the intent of the paper.”

There has already been an allocation between the recreational, customary and commercial sectors, Mr Symmans said, and the focus should be on the shared, sustainable management of the fisheries.

“We’re concerned that this document is about reallocation away from the commercial sector, which would have a significant impact on over 2500 businesses – large and small.”

It is vital that the Government recognises the economic significance of the seafood industry to New Zealand and its regional economies, he said. As New Zealand’s fifth largest export earner, the economic sustainability of the industry will be seriously undermined by the introduction of any policies which erode the property rights provided by the QMS.

“Our businesses depend on the assurance that their property rights will be protected. That certainty is key to the viability of those, mostly small owner-operator type businesses, and investment in the industry. If a company is thinking about investing in the sector they need certainty,” Mr Symmans said.

The purpose of a reallocation has to be for the benefit of all New Zealanders and the fisheries, not just to appease a single sector. We have to take any sign of reallocation away from commercial interests very, very seriously, Mr Symmans said.

ENDS


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