Defend the Deep: No more High Seas Permits for bottom trawling the South Pacific

Send a message directly to the Director General of the Ministry of Primary Industries, Ray Smith, calling on him not to issue any new High Seas Permits for the New Zealand bottom trawling fleet. Did you know that the New Zealand Government has previously issued permits to six bottom trawling vessels – all owned by companies with recent convictions for illegal fishing – and allows them to go out and trawl seamounts in international waters? These vessels are the only ones that are still causing the destruction of South Pacific biodiversity in this way. A recent survey found almost 80% of New Zealanders want seamounts to be protected from bottom trawling. This high seas bottom trawl fishery goes against what most New Zealanders stand for:
  1. The fleet is predominantly bottom trawling on areas of seamounts and features, biodiversity hotspots that are home to delicate and ancient coral and sponge communities.
  2. New Zealand’s six authorised bottom trawl vessels are the only fleet still bottom trawling in the South Pacific high seas, so we alone could end this destruction.
  3. All six vessels belong to companies that have shown they don’t follow the rules – all of them have recent convictions for illegal trawling in protected areas.
  4. Alternative fishing methods, such as longlining and mid-water trawls, are viable in many areas and do not damage the seafloor and seamounts as bottom trawling does.
Right now, the Government is considering High Seas Permits applications for the next fishing year, 2022 – 2023. We call on the head of MPI, Ray Smith, not to issue permits to New Zealand bottom trawlers to continue this destruction. Use the form below to send a message to Ray Smith and David Parker, the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries.

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