Ministry unveils cameras to prevent dumping of fish

By Steve Deane

Nathan Guy. Photo / Chris Gorman
Nathan Guy. Photo / Chris Gorman

New technology designed to prevent fish dumping by the country's commercial fishing fleet will be unveiled today.

On-board surveillance cameras are to be made mandatory by October 2015 under changes to the regulation of the Snapper 1 fishery.

The technology that will be used to monitor the on-board activities of fishermen will be showcased by the Ministry of Fisheries today at the Commercial Wharf in the Wynyard Quarter.

Media have been invited to a briefing on board Aotearoa Fisheries' vessel Corinthian.

The monitoring programme - which will see 25 per cent of the trawl fleet have cameras or observers on board by December 1, rising to 50 per cent by October 1, 2014 and 100 per cent by October 1, 2015 - is part of a range of initiatives announced by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy in September.

The monitoring is designed to curb the practice of high grading, where tonnes of small but legal-sized fish are dumped back into the sea so trawlers can target larger fish.

Recreational fishing lobby group Legasea has welcomed moves to reduce commercial waste.

'It's taken more than 30 years to get recognition of this issue and a plan to address this waste," national programme leader Mandy Kupenga said.

"If Mr Guy's proposed initiatives are implemented thoroughly it will make a significant impact on rebuilding the fish stocks."

However, the decision to leave the commercial size limit at 25cm and leave the commercial quota untouched while adjusting both the size and bag limits for recreational fishers was disappointing, Ms Kupenga said.

Changes to the fishery's management included cutting the recreational bag limit for snapper from nine to seven and raising the minimum size limit from 27cm to 30cm.

An initial suggestion in a ministry discussion paper of cutting the recreational bag limit to three fish created a huge public outcry, with more than 49,000 submissions made on the proposed changes.

- NZ Herald

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