A letter from fishing industry heavyweights to Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash reveals the extent of pressure to prevent cameras on boats, at the same time the industry was running an advertising campaign promising greater transparency.
The letter, dated 27 July 2018 and released to Forest & Bird under the Official Information Act states:
“The purpose of this letter is to dismiss any suggestion that the New Zealand seafood industry… has anything less than overwhelming opposition to your Ministry’s current proposal for cameras.”
Forest & Bird marine advocate Karen Baird says the letter signed by industry heavyweights including Sealord, Talley’s, New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen and Te Ohu Kai Moana made a complete mockery of the industry’s PR campaign promising greater transparency.
“How can the industry promise greater transparency to the New Zealand public while double dealing behind the scenes to make sure the promised transparency never comes?”
“When cameras were put on boats in Australia the fishing industry suddenly became much more honest—admitting catching nearly eight times the number of seabirds, over seven times the number of marine mammals, and three times the number of turtles, and admitting to discarding up to six times the amount of fish than they previously reported.”
“We also know that in the New Zealand set net fishery, the only nets that officially catch penguins are the ones that have observers on board.”
“The industry needs to come clean – will they commit to cameras on boats, and give New Zealanders the openness and transparency they promised, or will they continue to block genuine transparency?”
An example of the Seafood NZ advertising campaign can be found here.