Under-reported hoki prompts call for review of fishing industry

First@Five 25/05/2018

A recent leaked report in reveals that by-catch for hoki has been under-reported. By-catch refers to any species that are affected or killed as a result of a fishing practice.

The report, compiled by the Fisheries Ministry in 2011, identified practices such as misreporting catches and intentionally targeting areas containing off-limits young hoki. 

Non-profit Sea Shepherd’s Michael Lawry pointed out that some of the vessels named in the report “overlap” with vessels that have been associated with dolphin by-catch in the past.

“If you are eating New Zealand commercially caught fish or even factory farmed salmon there is no guarantee it’s a not linked to an IUU [Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated] fishing event,” he said.

Mr Lawry suggests that such associated could mean that commercial fish is quite literally killing dolphins as a result, but admits that accusation could be over-the-top.

“We don’t know what’s happening most of the time,” he told James Coleman on First@Five.

In spite of his speculations, Mr Lawry said the Government needs to review the fishing industry to ensure they are following the law.

“They have old money; they have a lot of power and connections to both Labour and National. And they just seem to be getting away with it.”

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has since responded to the leaked report, telling the NZ Herald that he is confident that practices have changed since 2011.

But Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman is not so convinced. Mr Norman believes an independent inquiry is needed for both the fisheries management system and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ supervision of the commercial fishing industry.

Listen to the full interview with Michael Lawry above.

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