29, Aug, 2005

Labour's fisheries policy gets mostly thumbs up from Greenpeace

Category: Greenpeace NZ

Auckland: Today Greenpeace congratulated the Minister of Fisheries for taking the issue of bottom trawling and New Zealand's role in governance of international waters seriously, following the release of Labour's Fisheries Policy.

"Labour's Fisheries Policy has the potential to be a far-reaching, intelligent response to the crisis our oceans are in. Overall, if implemented, Labour's policies give the opportunity for ocean life to return to a healthy state", said oceans campaigner Malcolm Wren.

Labour is indicating it wants to take a vocal lead on the "unacceptable impacts of bottom trawling" at the UN. The UNGA meeting at New York in November offers the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is on this issue.

"This can only be applauded", says Mr Wren, "But negotiations with Chile and Australia over managing the oceans in between will take years while every day bottom trawlers are destroying unique, essential habitats and ecosystems in the deep sea. That's why a UN moratorium on bottom trawling in international waters needs to be in place while the talks continue".

Greenpeace compliments policies to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and support marine reserves in the high seas and the fragile waters of Antarctica as all positive initiatives.

"Comparatively, the National Party hasn't even grasped that the most destructive fishing technique in the world - bottom trawling - is even an issue. There are no suggestions to fix the environmental impacts of industrial fishing such as bycatch and marine habitat destruction", concluded Mr Wren.

In addition, National's Fisheries Policy:
  • Does not recognise the spiral of collapse that the fishing industry and ocean life is experiencing is due to destructive fishing techniques and industrial overfishing
  • Does not advocate the precautionary principle and is hostile to urgently-needed marine reserves
  • In contrast to Labour, wants to promote New Zealand's fishing interests in the Antarctic.
Greenpeace NZ