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Greens: Oceans In Crisis: Fishing Lobby Litigates

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
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green party.jpg

15 September 2008 - The fishing industry's obstinate opposition to recent protections for the critically endangered Maui's dolphin shows how essential it is to strengthen New Zealand's fisheries and marine protection laws, the Green Party says.

The Federation of Commercial Fishermen is taking court action to overturn fishing restrictions designed to save the critically endangered Maui's dolphin from extinction.

"The determination of some sectors of the fishing industry to exploit fish stocks until there is nothing left, and to destroy iconic and precious marine mammals and seabirds, shows how urgent it is that relevant legislation be amended so the environment is not pitted against the economy," Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"The fishing lobby is not in the least bit interested in supporting a sustainable fishery or protecting marine species - even the world's smallest dolphin - from extinction,"

"As it is, the current legislation gives anyone the right to challenge the law on all sorts of weird and wonderful grounds. The fishing industry needs to accept that protecting marine life is the real bottom line - that the extinction of Maui's dolphins is forever, but profit is fleeting.

"The Green Party's recently-released conservation policy recognises that New Zealand's sea is woefully abused by commercial fishers and neglected by Government: our policy puts marine conservation in the top three conservation priorities for New Zealand.

"Commercial fishing has done great harm to New Zealand's underwater environment over the years - bottom trawling continues to create great marine deserts devoid of life, while scientists have proved that unattended set nets are responsible for the plight of the Maui's dolphin - only 100 remain in the whole world.

"I have drafted a Marine Animals Protection bill, which would legislate for improved oceans protection.

"The Green Party would urgently amend the Fisheries Act and Marine Mammals Protection Act, and pass the Marine Reserves Bill. We would also reconstruct the Marine Conservation Unit in DOC, which was scrapped in the recent staff cuts," Mrs Turei says.

"We condemn the actions of the Federation of Commercial Fishermen, and call on all parties to support any legislation that protects New Zealand's unique animal life over selfish commercial interests."

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