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Seafood New Zealand Finds “Much To Like” In Green’s Oceans Policy, But Warns Against Misinformation

The group representing New Zealand’s commercial fishers has come out in support of some aspects of the Green Party’s oceans policy, released today. But the organisation warns that other aspects misunderstand the science around oceans and risk perpetuating misinformation about commercial fishing in Aotearoa.

Seafood New Zealand CEO Dr Jeremy Helson says “we’ve found much to like in the newly released Green Party policy. For example, we would support the idea of creating a special fund to help iwi and hapū deliver on marine conservation priorities and we are also keen to see increased investment in biosecurity to protect New Zealand waters from invasive pest species. These are good things.

“New Zealand commercial fishers are also open to conversations about increasing marine protection. However, we would like to see Green MP’s recognise that we already have 30% protection for the waters of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the form of Benthic Protection Areas (BPAs) which are areas where no bottom contact fishing can take place. We also would like to see any decisions about marine protection be firmly based in science, and the science for MPAs is somewhat mixed, given that they cannot protect the oceans from climate change, pollution, invasive species or runoff from the land.”

Regarding the statements made by the Green Party about the ‘plunder of overfishing,’ Dr Helson says this is simply not a true reflection of how commercial fishing works in New Zealand.

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"We totally reject that idea. Those are words, not facts. The truth is New Zealand oceans are tightly monitored and our fisheries are healthy and well managed. We are also concerned that Green MP’s want to ban trawling outright, which shows a misunderstanding of how this fishing method works. Done in the right way in the right places, it is not destructive and is in fact how the majority of fish are caught.

“Like the Greens, New Zealand’s commercial fishers want to see healthy oceans. We rely on them. Our people know and love the oceans of Aotearoa and we are always keen to have conversations about how we can all do more to protect them.”

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