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Prime Minister Must Be Fishing In Some Other Ocean

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Prime Minister Must Be Fishing In Some Other Ocean

6 MAY 2009 - Government claims today that New Zealand's oceans are "teeming with fish" and that the quota management system (QMS) is working are rubbish, says Greenpeace (1).

The environmental organisation, which today released the report While Stocks Last - Supermarkets and the Future of Seafood (2), is also critical of today's announcement that more New Zealand fisheries are being assessed for the Marine Stewardship Council's so-called blue tick eco-label, saying that some species like hoki which carry the label are not sustainably managed (3).

Greenpeace is calling on New Zealand supermarkets to stop stocking seafood that isn't sustainably managed in the wake of similar moves by supermarkets in Europe and the United States, where New Zealand caught species such as orange roughy have been taken off the shelves (4).

Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas says that the fact that three of New Zealand's eight orange roughy fisheries have collapsed under the QMS shows that it is failing. Orange roughy stocks have been fished to as low as three per cent of their natural levels in some areas, and even some stocks of snapper have been fished down to around 10 per cent.

"Prime Minister John Key's statement to the fishing industry this morning that New Zealand's oceans are teeming with fish and that the quota management system is sustainably managing New Zealand's fisheries is rubbish. You have to wonder what planet he's on and what ocean he's fishing in," she said.

"Supermarkets in Europe and the United States know that our quota management system is no guarantee of sustainability, and it's time that New Zealand supermarkets recognised this too."

Greenpeace today offered lunchtime shoppers in central Auckland a chance to try gourmet jellyfish meals, because that could be the only type of seafood left if current unsustainable fishing practices continue.

Supermarket chief executives Peter Smith (Progressive Enterprises) and Tony Carter (Foodstuffs) were invited to lunch at the temporary upmarket Jellyfish du Jour Caf in Auckland's Queen Elizabeth II Square, but didn't take up the offer.

Greenpeace says that New Zealand supermarkets have a responsibility to their customers to stock only sustainably managed seafood.

"Hiding behind inadequate schemes like the quota management system and the Marine Stewardship Council blue tick is simply not good enough," Karli Thomas said.

"New Zealand shoppers have the right to know what they are buying, where it comes from and how it was caught. Supermarkets have a responsibility to assure their customers that the seafood they sell is sustainable, and they must start by taking species in dire trouble - like orange roughy - off their shelves."

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