The Green Party welcomes progress to get cameras on around 300 inshore fishing vessels, but wants the Government to move faster and the industry to contribute more funding.
“Our oceans are taonga. The Government and industry need to move with urgency to protect them by ending overfishing and the bykill of seabirds, fur seals and other marine mammals on fishing lines and nets. Faster rollout of cameras on boats can help do this,” says Green Party spokesperson for Oceans and Fisheries Eugenie Sage.
“The Government’s restatement of its 2019 commitment to cameras and confirming funding is useful, but 2024 is a long time away and we’ve had many years of delays already. We need to recognise the urgency of the situation and get cameras on the fleet now.
“If the Government is going to subsidise the industry by paying a substantial part of the now $68 million estimated cost, then the funding model should be designed to incentivise rapid uptake. This needs to be sooner than 2024.
“Cameras on boats are a critical tool to ensure accurate reporting of catch and bycatch. They are needed now.
“The fishing industry has been careless about its environmental impacts for far too long. It needs to be more accountable and recognise that the health of our oceans depends on stopping overfishing and ending bad practices such as bykill of protected species.
“New Zealanders shouldn’t have to subsidise the commercial fishing industry by paying the full cost of cameras – the industry should pay a significant share.”