An Official Information Act request by Radio New Zealand has revealed that less than one percent of all fisheries prosecutions are related to fish dumping.
That’s despite evidence showing five out of six industrial fishing boats were dumping fish during Operations Achilles and Hippocamp.
Inspectors estimated that crews were dumping anywhere between 20% and 100% of their catch during a trip, yet the Ministry for Primary Industries says there is no problem.
LegaSea spokesman Scott MacIndoe says this travesty must end.
“As recreational fishers, we see this all too often. Dead fish washing up on our shores – fish that are either not profitable to land too small to be legally landed or fish that have been thrown overboard when boats reach their quota limits. It’s wastage that is totally unacceptable.”
The University of Auckland has released a report into catch numbers since 1950 and determined that the number of fish caught and killed is nearly three times higher than the number of fish reported landed during that period. The Ministry for Primary Industries has rejected the findings.
“Here we have not only a high-quality scientific report but video evidence of illegal activity and MPI sits back and does nothing. New Zealanders deserve better than a Ministry which condones illegal activity.”
MPI is conducting an investigation into why it was decided not to prosecute the crews who were filmed during the operations listed, but the real issue is being ignored.
“LegaSea has called for a Commission of Inquiry into the way our fish stocks are managed and the way MPI acts in relation to the industry. We don’t believe the Minister is getting good advice and guidance from his Ministry, who have no partnered with this same industry, and we don’t believe New Zealand is being well served by a Ministry that allows this sort of behaviour to go unchecked.”
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LegaSea is a public outreach initiative of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council. The Council has an experienced fisheries management, science, policy and legal team. On behalf of the Council LegaSea raises funds and provides public-friendly information about a variety of processes that are important to the sustainable management of fisheries for future generations.