The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy must step up and investigate failures in his ministry and fisheries management, which are allowing widespread fish dumping to threaten the sustainability of fish stocks, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of an email from a senior Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) official saying that if the current law was enforced, half of all inshore fishers would go out of business. This means that not only is fish dumping is widespread, but also that MPI is propping up the commercial fishing industry by failing to enforce the law.
“Nathan Guy has been silent on fish dumpers being let off the hook. It’s happening in his ministry, under his watch, and that’s not good enough,” said Green Party fisheries spokesperson, Eugenie Sage
“The fisheries management review currently underway will not solve the big issue of commercial fishers dumping fish that are too small or won’t get them enough money when landed, or of fishers providing inaccurate catch information.
“The current review is a pulse check when what fisheries management really needs is a triple bypass.
“We have a major problem when the Director of Fisheries Management said last October that fish dumping is a systemic failure of the current system, and has been a problem since day one of the Quota Management System (QMS).
“The Minister needs to set up a much wider independent review than the recent Heron Report, to get to the bottom of the issue and to restore public confidence in fisheries management.
“We need a robust, comprehensive and independent commission of inquiry into fisheries management in New Zealand.
“MPI’s failure to enforce the law makes a mockery of the QMS that is supposed to protect fish stocks for present and future generations.
“Failing to stop fish dumping means critical information used to estimate fish stocks and set catch limits is inaccurate. It also allows tonnes of fish to be wasted, which threatens healthy fish stocks for present and future generations.
“MPI has been letting the fishing industry off the hook. We need major reform of the quota system and MPI’s management of it, so the industry doesn’t get away with wasting a precious resource and so we have accurate information to help calculate fish stocks and catch limits,” said Ms Sage.