Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash’s confirmation that it is his own colleagues that are blocking the rollout of cameras on commercial fishing boats is concerning, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.
Ms Dowie says Mr Nash’s announcement that it was always his intention to put cameras on commercial fishing boats and that he will be taking a paper to Cabinet is welcome.
“It’s good to see that after eight months of delays and stagnation Mr Nash is finally supporting cameras on commercial fishing vessels,” Ms Dowie says.
“However, I am deeply disappointed that the Minister confirmed that it is his own Government colleagues that are blocking the roll-out of cameras on commercial fishing vessels and he is yet to convince Cabinet of the merit of cameras.
“That’s despite all the evidence – and support from the Department of Conservation - that cameras will make a difference in protecting our marine mammals.
“Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage needs to help Mr Nash get NZ First Ministers over the line.
“Ms Sage talked a big game in Opposition. She promised that with the Greens in Government ‘completely unacceptable’ fishing practices would stop. In Government, Ms Sage says nothing as NZ First continues to call the shots with Labour. The Government found a billion dollars for more diplomats but can’t get simple, practical measures across the line that would save dolphins and seabirds.
“If rolled-out fully as National proposed, digital monitoring will help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored and will help protect their sustainability.”