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QMS open to widespread abuse Mfish officials say

9 October 2008

QMS open to widespread abuse Mfish officials say

Instead of blowing the trumpet of New Zealand's QMS system, Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee should concentrate on preventing the well known and widespread abuse of the system, the Green Party says.

"While Mr McNee says the QMS is a 'model for the rest of the world' his own officials say: 'Dumping of QMS species is viewed by the Ministry of Fisheries as possibly the greatest threat to the integrity of the (QMS) system. The practice is rumoured to be widespread -'the industries alleged dirty little secret'.

"It is true that if our QMS were properly implemented, then we might have a system we could hold up as an example," Mrs Turei says.

"But instead, McNee's own officers report 'the serious offending that currently pervades the New Zealand fishery will continue largely unabated and undetected, posing a significant risk to a number of New Zealand's principle fish stocks'

"While boats fish unobserved; while research into fish stocks is grossly underfunded; while there is a woefully inadequate precautionary principle in fishing legislation, New Zealand's fish stocks will continue to be plundered to the point of commercial extinction.

"I am pleased McNee acknowledges 'we need to keep working to improve the environmental performance of our fisheries and to improve the value that we all get from them'.

"The current management of the marine zone is dominated by commercial fishing. This has lead to degradation of the marine environment, which impacts on recreational and customary fishers, and on the health of the marine ecosystem," Mrs Turei says.

"Here in New Zealand, the fishing lobby fights every attempt to restrict or limit how they fish and what they can take. Currently the Minister is in court fighting for restrictions which might have helped prevent the extinction of the world's smallest and rarest dolphin - the Hector's dolphin.

"The Fisheries Act must be amended to ensure the precautionary and sustainability principles are firmly entrenched. Resources must be increased for frontline fisheries work, including increasing the number of fully-equipped honorary and paid fisheries officers.

"There is potential for the QMS to function well, but instead we have a system so poorly funded and implemented that it actually incentivises misreporting - according to McNee's own officials."


ENDS

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