The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must stop its light-handed approach to fish dumping by commercial operators or we risk further declines in fish stocks, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of figures that reveal MPI has only prosecuted four commercial fishers for fish dumping since 2009.
“Fish dumping is widespread amongst commercial fishers, which not only wastes a precious resource but also puts our fish stocks in jeopardy,” said Green Party fisheries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Researchers at Auckland University and the University of British Columbia showed that fish dumping is widespread amongst commercial fishers.
“We'd hate to see our oceans become wastelands because fishers are getting away with dumping fish caught in their nets that aren’t the size they want or they don’t want to declare.
“Earlier this year, the Heron Report showed there have been only 28 prosecutions since 2004. For MPI to only take four prosecutions in the last seven years when we know fish dumping is widespread is a farce.
“The report also showed that the Minister of Primary Industries has allowed a culture to develop on his watch where MPI managers stop MPI staff enforcing the law and can block a prosecution.
“MPI should be prosecuting vessel skippers and fishing companies who are dumping fish and breaking the law, and answer questions about why it is too scared to tackled the problem head on.
“The Green Party will address fish dumping and review the Quota Management System, invest in wider observer and camera coverage for boats, and ensure our precious fish stocks are preserved for future generations,” said Ms Sage.