Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Fishing industry taking Govt to court over Kermadec sanctuary

Raoul Island, the largest of the five Kermadec Islands. The proposed ocean sanctuary will cover 620,000 square kilometres around the islands. Photo / Getty Images
Raoul Island, the largest of the five Kermadec Islands. The proposed ocean sanctuary will cover 620,000 square kilometres around the islands. Photo / Getty Images

The fishing industry is taking the Government to court over a proposed marine sanctuary in the Kermadec Islands.

It is the second legal challenge against the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, following High Court action by Maori Fisheries Trust Te Ohu Kaimoana last month.

Seafood New Zealand said today that the Government's unilateral move to establish the ocean sanctuary had failed to recognise existing fishing rights.

New Zealand Fishing Industry Association president Steve Bishop said the Kermadecs proposal had gone ahead without "full, considered consultation" with those affected.

Seafood giants Sanford, Sealord and others, who together made up 80 per cent of New Zealand's fishing quota, led the legal action.

The companies wanted the Government to recognise that the sanctuary would undermine the integrity of New Zealand's quota management system and the landmark Fisheries Settlement in 1992.

"The Government proposal will extinguish, or diminish, existing rights and this sets a disturbing precedent for all New Zealanders who own property - one where the Government can simply confiscate rights with no prior consultation," Mr Scott said.

The Government has defended its right to set up the sanctuary, saying that it consulted with the two iwi that had interests in the Kermadecs.

It has also said that the fishing take within the proposed sanctuary's boundaries was only around 20 tonnes a year.

- NZ Herald

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