MPI must stop letting commercial fishers off the hook

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must stop letting commercial fishers off the hook for illegal fish dumping, the Green Party said today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must stop letting commercial fishers off the hook for illegal fish dumping, the Green Party said today.

The comments come on the back of a report by Michael Heron QC into how MPI has handled fish dumping, in which it was revealed MPI managers could prevent MPI enforcing the law and block the prosecution of illegal fish dumping.

“The Minister has allowed a culture to develop on his watch where MPI managers are able to prevent MPI enforcing the law and block a prosecution,” said Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Crown Solicitor’s advice was sought in this matter, but what they advised is privileged.

“MPI should be prosecuting vessel skippers and fishing companies who are dumping fish and breaking the law, but under National the fishing industry is allowed to pillage our oceans and discard 20 to 100 percent of quota fish during every haul. These numbers make a mockery of the Quota Management System that was designed to protect our fish stocks from exploitation.

“The Heron Report is indicative of a much wider culture problem within MPI, and with the Minister’s and MPI’s and management of the fishing industry. There needs to be a much wider inquiry into fisheries management and the industry’s influence over MPI.

“Since 2004 MPI has only taken 28 prosecutions against commercial vessels for fish dumping; this is less than 1 percent of all the cases it has prosecuted despite an independent report by Auckland University showing that actual catches are 2.7 times what is reported,” said Ms Sage.

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