05, Apr, 2007

Government – Industry Fisheries Accord is a Sham

Category: ECO Inc

The fishing industry Accord with the Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton, is a fake and a sham which offers “protection” from bottom trawling where virtually no bottom trawling occurs, says the Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand, ECO.

The scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere, NIWA, did a review of the proposal and concluded that considerably fewer than 1% of 46,000 bottom trawl tows annually would be put off limits by the Accord," says Cath Wallace, co-chair of ECO.

Anderton and the fishing industry are clearly relying on the fact that there is only a small number of people in New Zealand who know that most of the areas agreed to be closed to fishing are not fished anyway. The areas are too deep, are already closed, are barren of commercial fish or have already been trashed by the fishing industry."

No one should be fooled by this Accord: it is the cheapest possible empty gesture – in fact it is worse than empty, it sets back attempts to get genuine controls on the devastating impacts of bottom trawling by many years.

In return for their empty gesture, the fishing industry will be allowed to avoid real controls, to not have marine protected areas for at least six years, and will be subsidised by the government which will pay for research that previously the industry paid for.

New Zealand bottom trawling is one of the most unsustainable industries in New Zealand and has become notorious internationally.

Jim Anderton, has clearly been in cohoots with the fishing industry in conning the Cabinet into accepting this. Either that, or the Labour government has cynically decided to agree to this knowing full well that it is a fake.

It is very sad and reprehensible that, weeks after Helen Clark declared that New Zealand would become sustainable, the Cabinet should do a deal with the fishing industry. It is a con job on the New Zealand public. It will in effect allow our most environmentally damaging industry to evade genuine controls and to continue to wreak havoc while genuine marine protection measures are dumped.

For further information, contact Cath Wallace, 021-891-994 or Barry Weeber 04-970-8696