Talley’s shifts blame for illegal bottom trawl onto skipper – Greenpeace New Zealand

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Court papers have revealed that Talley’s deepwater fishing division, Amaltal, has shifted the blame for illegally bottom trawling in the Hikurangi Marine Reserve off Kaikōura, a year after the company was found guilty of the breach.

The Amaltal Mariner trawled into the reserve in March 2019, in an area that has been called the ” most biologically rich ocean habitat in the world.”

But despite both the skipper and Talley’s subsidiary being initially found guilty of the illegal trawls, the conviction of the fishing company was set aside by the High Court.

Greenpeace says this ruling shows loopholes that must be closed, to ensure commercial fishing companies don’t get away with trashing protected areas of the ocean.

“What we have seen with Talley’s historically is a pattern of bad behaviour: repeated charges of their vessels illegally trawling in protected areas, followed by attempts to evade responsibility by blaming the skippers or observers,” says Greenpeace’s Ellie Hooper.

“Talley’s has washed their hands of it and taken no responsibiltiy.”

The company is also accused of illegally trawling in a no-trawl zone in the Tasman Sea. This prosecution has still not been completed three years after the offence, and the ship continues to fish.

In January 2021, a further illegal trawl incident by a New Zealand vessel was highlighted at the meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), but officials have not released further details.

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What information has been shared, suggests a vessel trawling on a seamount likely destroyed a vulnerable marine ecosystem, which may have been the only one of its kind in the area.

Greenpeace says there is a clear pattern of illegality in the bottom trawling industry, with every company given high seas permits this year having been recently convicted of offences.

“The softly-softly approach from the government obviously hasn’t worked,” says Hooper.

“Talley’s and other commercial fishing companies are doing damage to vulnerable parts of the ocean, but are still being issued permits to continue trawling.

“Marine Reserves should protect the most precious and biologically diverse parts of the ocean – like Hikurangi – but this case shows that companies can too easily dodge their responsibilities.”

Greenpeace and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) are calling for better protection of seamounts from bottom trawl fishing. They demand that:

– Bottom trawling is banned on seamounts and similar features to protect these hotspots for vulnerable marine life.

– The Marine Reserves Act is strengthened to ensure that commercial fishing companies are held accountable for illegal fishing.

– The current Parliamentary inquiry into illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing brings our laws up to standard to tackle this threat to the ocean.

– Fisheries New Zealand stops issuing high seas permits to companies that have recently been convicted of illegal fishing.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Talley’s gives donations to the Labour Party.

    Talley’s does not get prosecuted for illegal fishing.
    Talley’s does not have to put cameras on their boats.
    Talley’s has dirty processing plants where workers are discouraged from joining unions or protesting wages and working conditions.

    Could there possibly be any connection?

    • Come on Steve, Talleys give generously to most political parties… National, NZ First and Labour.

      They don’t even need to worry about the Greens, as the Greens are so busy ignoring the environment while ticking the boxes to give away water/landfill to Chinese/international interests.

      I’m sure there is a cultural/identity case for PRC to take NZ fishing rights in the new Green agenda. In fact the Green Party seem to be actively recruiting the Chinese volunteer/donar. Obviously soft power operations would never get past their scrutiny. (sarcasm).

  2. Go Greenpeace.

    What a joke that you have a marine sanctuary and the fishing vessels seem to be ‘allowed’ to stray into them, and say whoops…. perhaps a million dollar fine each time would be useful, 25% paid by the skipper, and 75% paid by the company that employs him/her.

  3. That’s interesting – Talleys is building a file of faulty behaviour findings that is going to expose them to negative opinions soon.

  4. The fishing industry should be relabelled “The marine destruction industry”.
    They don’t fish.
    They pillage.
    They destroy.
    And they lie about how much they catch and how much they dump.
    That’s why they don’t want cameras on boats.
    They don’t want the NZ public to see the cost what is the real cost of their Friday night fish and chips at PY Chong’s.
    Lying bastards!

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