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Fisheries Act law change welcomed

Media Release - Thursday 7 December 2006 - Wellington

Fisheries Act law change welcomed

The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) today welcomed that Government's decision to include the precautionary approach in the Fisheries Act.

"This decision is welcomed but overdue as the precautionary approach has been in international fisheries law since 1995," ECO Spokesperson Barry Weeber said.

The UN Fish Stocks Agreement and FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries, which were both completed in 1995, include requirements on states to apply the precautionary approach.

"It was a pity that the requirement to include the precautionary approach was not included in the Fisheries Act 1996 or in the 1999 Fisheries Amendment Act, when New Zealand passed law to ratify the UN Fish Stocks Agreement."

"The implementation of this principle is one of the changes needed to fisheries legislation to bring into line with international thinking on fisheries management."

Mr Weeber said further changes to the Fisheries Act are needed to give effect to proper environmental management in fisheries and include robust public participation procedures.

"Changes are needed to ensure that fisheries and marine ecosystems are valued for their own sake and not just the value of fish in the net."

ENDS

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