Today’s ruling that Talley’s deep-water fishing division, Amaltal, is guilty of bottom trawling in the Hikurangi Marine Reserve demonstrates the need for increased fisheries enforcement and strong marine protected areas off our coasts, Green MP Eugenie Sage said today.
“For too long big fishing companies have been allowed to plunder our waters with little consequence.
“Today’s court ruling shows an increase in accountability and a potential shift from Fisheries NZ and MPI, who will hopefully continue to crack down on illegal and harmful behaviour such as fishing in marine protected areas.
“A stronger and broader approach to compliance, monitoring and enforcement to end poor behaviour by fishing vessels is something the Green Party has long called for.
“What goes on off our coasts has for too long been treated as out of sight and out of mind. This is despite the fact that healthy and thriving oceans and marine species are critical to the health of Aotearoa and our planet.
“Alongside increased monitoring and enforcement of big fishing industry players when they break the rules, which we need cameras on boats for, the Greens want to see law reform around marine protected areas as a step towards healthy oceans.
“During the election campaign the Green Party called for a dramatic increase in marine protected areas, to 30% of New Zealand’s seas; including the Exclusive Economic Zone. This would help oceans thrive and heal from the immense strain of over-fishing, sediment and nutrient pollution, and ocean acidification.
“It is unbelievably arrogant and short-sighted for Talley’s Fisheries deep-water fishing division to plunder marine reserves; when these protected areas cover less than 0.5% of our oceans. These are the only areas where fish populations can increase, allowing for sustainable fishing for generations to come. To not know the boundaries of a marine reserve and to bottom trawl in it, damaging seabed habitats, beggars belief.
“The Greens look forward to working with Labour on oceans and fisheries reform so our marine environment is better managed and protected. The decision by MPI to pursue, and ultimately win this case against Talley’s deep-water division, Amaltal, shows a positive and welcome change in direction from the agency.”