Government regulatory intervention is a welcome relief .....
The current action of the Minister of Fisheries is commendable, and
relieving for advocates of seabird protection who opposed Government introduction
in early 2004 of the "National Plan of Action to Reduce the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in
New Zealand Fisheries", which called for voluntary action by the fishing industry.
See TerraNature article "Government Plan to Save Seabirds is Not Good Enough"
The Government conducted air surveillance of the fleet after an observer
reported noncompliance on one vessel in April 2005.
It is unfortunate that it took more than a year to discover the blatant
disregard for preventive measures by at least 20 squid fishery vessels, when the integrity
of industry claims have been questionable. During this time hundreds more seabirds have
Monitoring is needed throughout the entire fishing industry .....
In 2003, TerraNature expressed to the Fisheries and Conservation
Ministers, the need for independent observers on all vessels and government regulatory
The disgraceful example of the squid fishery fleet emphasises the need for government
inspection throughout all fisheries.
Mr Benson-Pope says the fishing industry is on notice: "I will be investigating other fisheries operating under voluntary codes to ensure those codes are working."
The Fisheries Minister still claims that "voluntary agreements can and
are working when the industry shows true commitment and keeps to their word."
Since application of mitigation measures in the ling longline
fishery, death of seabirds has been reduced by 75 percent, and in the tuna fishery
seabird loss has been reduced by 95 percent.
Unfortunately for fishers that act responsibly, there
will always be some that have no concern for environment in which they operate.
Regardless of what reductions in the killing of seabirds are accomplished,
there is a continual need to find the one ship that does not comply. It is known
that one ship could destroy hundreds of birds, as in 2001 when one Nelson fishing
boat killed more than 300 seabirds in six weeks.