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Stop the slaughter - close the Kermadecs

29 November 2006

Stop the slaughter - close the Kermadecs

The proposed closure of the Kermadec Islands to long-line fishing is a welcome development, and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton is being urged by the Green Party to follow-through with it.

The Minister announced yesterday that emergency measures are being considered to prevent the deaths of more rare seabirds in the nets of swordfishing vessels after 51 Antipodean Albatross were caught in the nets of one vessel on a recent expedition.

"Seabird by-catch has always been a huge problem with long-line fishing and these latest figures are appalling. It's hard to see this as anything other than mass slaughter of a threatened species," Green Party Fisheries Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"The Green Party wholeheartedly supports the proposal to close the Kermadecs to long-line fishing, and hopes that the Minister doesn't buckle to pressure from the fishing industry not to proceed with it. The Seafood Industry Council says the swordfishing industry should not be punished for the actions of 'one bad apple' but that bad apple is in their barrel, and besides, it's misleading to paint this as a one-off problem. By-catch is a widespread and ongoing problem.

"It has been shown time and time again that voluntary industry measures are simply not effective at reducing seabird deaths. Antipodean Albatross are a threatened species, and their fate should not be left in the hands of the fishing industry. Only strictly enforced regulations have the potential to make real inroads into this problem.

"I congratulate the Minister for taking this seriously and fully support his moves to crack down on the problem," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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