The Government must take strong action to clamp down on fishers who dump fish illegally and threaten our fish stocks, the Green Party said today.
Leaked reports show that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was aware that illegal fish dumping has been rife in the industry, with between 20 to 100 percent of some quota fish being dumped with every catch.
“MPI is either running scared of the fishing industry or happy to look the other way on illegal activity. It’s not good enough,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“What is the point of having observers or cameras on commercial fishing boats if what they see and show cannot be used to enforce the law and prevent dumping and wastage of fish?
“Laws are in place to manage our fish stocks sustainably for healthy oceans and for present and future generations. When speed cameras catch speeding motorists we pay the fine. When commercial fishers break the law and dump tonnes of fish they don’t want, MPI must also enforce the law.
“MPI’s response to the recent independent report showing gross under-reporting of fish caught was to say there are plenty more fish in the sea. Yet these leaked papers show that MPI is not managing our fisheries sustainably. It is looking the other way and shutting its eyes to huge wastage of fish.
“MPI must enforce the law and prosecute fishers who dump fish illegally. The Government must change the Quota Management System, including reviewing the deeming provisions to remove the incentives for dumping,” said Ms Sage.