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The Great New Zealand Fishing Scandal - TV Doco

The Great New Zealand Fishing Scandal
World Television Premiere On Documentary Channel
Investigate: Tuesday 4 August, 7.30pm

An impassioned expose on an issue close to New Zealanders hearts…

We have all heard of New Zealand companies closing down here and moving offshore, depriving people of jobs and creating more profit for companies but how would you feel if instead of moving offshore, they fired their Kiwi workers and replaced them with foreign workers, paying them much less and with no regard to health and safety. As a country we would be outraged wouldn’t we?

This scenario is happening today in the fishing industry, and has been for the past 20 years.

Every year, foreign factory trawlers with foreign crews, Korean, Russian or Polish, operate in New Zealand waters, chartered by New Zealand companies to catch their Deep-sea Quota, depriving New Zealand crews and processing workers of much needed jobs, and our economy of revenue.

THE GREAT NEW ZEALAND FISHING SCANDAL is a comprehensive examination and expose of an issue all New Zealanders should be aware of, and outraged by.

New Zealand has the 4th largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world (within a 200 mile boundary line around our country) measuring 4.4 million square kilometers, controlled by our government. Within that zone, 130 fish species are commercially caught every year, with a quota value of $38 billion and an export value of $1.5 billion and yet New Zealanders are not reaping due rewards.

The wage bill for the average New Zealand factory trawler is $4.2 million a year, compared with a foreign factory trawler wage bill of $US500,000, so it's not hard to see why NZ companies charter them and not local boats. 45% of all Deep-sea fish are caught by foreign fishing boats, and over 50% of all fish caught in New Zealand waters are processed overseas, mainly in Thailand and China. Profit, not employment has been the priority in managing a resource that all New Zealanders should benefit from.

Foreign fishing boats and their foreign crews have been fishing in New Zealand waters since the early 1950's. These vessels are chartered by New Zealand companies to catch their quota for them. Some of our largest fishing companies use them extensively as well as individual New Zealanders who own massive quota holdings, this despite the fact that since 1996, New Zealand has had the capacity to catch all its own fish without the need to use foreign trawlers, except for the harvesting of squid.

THE GREAT NEW ZEALAND FISHING SCANDAL explains how foreign boats can deliberately overfish certain species, knowing that the fine can often be less than the market price for that fish. Those most often hit by this practice are the local fishermen.

If a fish stock's numbers reduce, the Ministry of Fisheries reduces the quota that can be caught. What often happens is that companies chartering foreign boats will then take remaining quota away from New Zealand fishermen and add it to existing quota for foreign boats, making sure that these boats stay financially viable for the whole year.

The problem is that NZ fishermen now have a lot less fish to catch, reduced income with increasing costs, and are forced to either sell their boat and downsize, or get out of the industry altogether - a tough call when you've spent all your life at sea

Recreational fishermen can also be affected. For example an important Kingfish tagging programme off Raglan has been greatly affected by lack of records from these foreign boats, while having full co-operation from local commercial fishermen.

THE GREAT NEW ZEALAND FISHING SCANDAL gives an insight into the fishing industry that will shock, horrify and outrage most New Zealanders.

The Great New Zealand Fishing Scandal
World Television Premiere On Documentary Channel
Tuesday 4 August, 7.30pm

ENDS

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